Bundaberg’s Riley McGregor beats home the open and under-19 competitors at the Queensland Surf Rescue Championships, held at Dicky Beach.
Bundaberg’s Riley McGregor beats home the open and under-19 competitors at the Queensland Surf Rescue Championships, held at Dicky Beach. Brett Wortman

Coast-bound star collects champion

Riley McGregor mastered the washing machine conditions at Sunshine Coast’s Dicky Beach to win the under-19 Queensland champion lifesaver event.

Against a host of older, more experienced rivals, McGregor showed just how good he was to comfortably finish on top after points from theory and practical assessment were tallied.

Fellow Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) member Jamie Findlay finished fourth in the same discipline, and Bonnie Stehbens was second in the under-14 girls division.

Findlay and McGregor moved to the Gold Coast a fortnight ago to start university, but made the trip to the Coast to represent the Bundaberg club.

McGregor finished ahead of all open competition, in a pleasing performance ahead of the Australian Titles.

“It was deep and fairly choppy, real washing machine kind of conditions,” McGregor said.

“To win like that was obviously great. I’ll head to nationals now and see how I go, but there are some pretty big guys there.”

But McGregor is not exactly little himself, and has the nose for victory after romping home with the under-17 national title last season.

A win would be a fitting farewell from Bundaberg SLSC, with McGregor and Findlay planning to compete for Northcliffe next season.

“An Australian title would be a nice way to finish with Bundy SLSC,” he said.

McGregor will study sports medicine and Findlay physiotherapy at Griffith University, and both will have the benefit of the best training ground in the world at their front door.

“Living on the coast will definitely improve my lifesaving,” McGregor said.

“There is brilliant surf, tough competition and more competitions.”

He also hinted he would have another crack at ironman qualifying next season.

In other results at Dicky Beach, fellow Bundaberg members Erin Gibson finished fourth in the under-15 champion lifesaver, Hayley Bowman was fifth in the under-14 class, Kate Newton (under-19), Teisha Towner (under-15) and Jack Lester (under-14) came sixth and Scott Mapson was eighth in the under-15 division.

Bonnie Stehbens, Teisha Towner, Erin Gibson and Jill Cremer finished second in the under-15 patrol.



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