SHALOM College will fight to hold on to the championship trophy when the region’s budding sand and surf stars battle it out at the Schools’ Surf League tomorrow.
Shalom College prised the trophy from the hands of long-term winners St Luke’s last year and team manager John Davis said his students would do whatever it took to ensure it remains in the school’s trophy cabinet.
It was only the second time St Luke’s had lost the competition in its 13-year history.
“We’ve grown pretty fond of it over the last year and, with the team we’ve managed to get together, I think we are in with a good shot of holding on to it,” he said.
Shalom will take a field of 58 competitors to the annual Nielson Park Beach event, including under-16 sprint specialist Sam Daff and under-15 swimming star Benjamin Matthew.
Also doing their bit for Shalom will be twin sisters Georgia and Susan Bass, who have proven themselves to be proficient both on the sand and in the surf.
“We’ve got a pretty strong contingent with some experienced surf lifesavers and some students we hope will make a pretty smooth transition from other sports,” Davis said.
Davis said the competition, now in its 13th year, had promoted some healthy competition between schools and created some fierce rivalries.
“The kids have been revved up about this for weeks,” he said.
“I think they’re pretty eager to get out there and see what they can achieve.”
The event is tipped to attract 250 competitors from 10 schools in the Bundaberg and Fraser Coast regions.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden said the competition had been a starting point for many of the region’s surf livesaving champions.
“It’s a great way for people who may not be familiar with the sport to give it a go and see what it’s all about,” he said.
“The event has actually emerged as a bit of an institution and is a popular fixture on the surf-lifesaving calendar.”