Zane inspires nippers

Zane inspires nippers

CHALLENGING weather and surf conditions faced competitors during the inaugural running of the Wave Warriors Junior Challenge at Ocean Grove main beach on Saturday.
As the curtain drew to a close on the traditional Rip to River event, junior nipper competitors who ranged from eight years to 14 years were forced to compete in all weather elements including wind, rain and sun and the fickle tide.
Waves Warriors ambassador and retired ironman champion Zane Holmes, based on Queensland’s Gold Coast, said cooler conditions and changing tide tested competitors and organisers.
“It made it a little harder logistically to set up once the Rip to River had finished, but we had fantastic help from the (Ocean Grove SLSC) and the workforce that helped us set up,” said Holmes, a former Coolangatta Gold champion and dual world Ironman champion.
“I think it worked really well but we have certainly got some testing conditions for myself as a Queenslander and I find it pretty tough and cold.
“But the kids are still running around with a smile on their face and that’s the main thing.
“This is probably the most challenging that we have had, that is what it is all about and testing the kids and safety is our number one priority.”
The junior national carnival event attracted competitors locally including Ocean Grove and Anglesea Surf Life Saving Clubs and interstate clubs such as Tugun (QLD), Cottesloe (WA), Henley (SA) and Grange SLSC’s (SA).
Holmes praised the work of all local and interstate Surf Life Saving Clubs who took part in competition.
“That was our goal to make it a national event and the fact we have got kids from three or four different states is fantastic,” Holmes said.
MEANWHILE Holmes said he was amazed with the popularity of this year’s Rip to River event prior to the commencement of the Wave Warriors competition.
“I could not believe how many people were here and supporting it and obviously that has been going for 34 years,” Holmes said.
“It takes a long time to develop that sort of level of participation and it is something we can strive for at Wave Warriors.”
The Ocean Grove competition on January 4 was one of four events that made up the Medibank Wave Junior Challenge calendar after events in Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast.

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