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GALLERY: Redhead’s Lani Waller shines at NSW Open SLS Championships

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While the 2024 NSW Open Surf Life Saving Championships belonged to Newport, Redhead SLSC’s teenage dynamo Lani Waller was the star of the show.

On the third day of the competition, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the 17-year-old picked up six gold medals.

After winning the under-19 female board, swim and Ironperson events, she backed it up not half-an-hour later in the Open Ironperson, with a busted toe, and beat a veritable who’s who of NSW lifesavers to claim the title. 

It was an intense finish.

Waller built a significant lead into the final ski leg but slewed on the way in and lost the craft.

She then swam for her life and reached the shore almost in line with the skis of Newport’s Analise Kibble and Piper Harrison but was running up the beach well before the other two had feet on the sand.

“I entered the opens not expecting much,” Waller said.

“I just do it for the experience… and I went into it with that attitude.

“I knew if I got a big lead in the swim and board that, hopefully, the ski would give me something because I’m not the best on the ski.

“I didn’t have much in the tank since I’d just won the 19s.

“So, coming away with both [victories], I couldn’t be happier.

“There were a lot more girls from the Nutri Grain Series this year.

“And, that’s definitely one of my big goals for next season.

“It’s a big thing, competing against Lizzie, Piper and Analise; they’re big inspirations coming from NSW.

“I definitely want to be up there with them one day in the Nutri Grain and, hopefully, we can all do it together.”

For good measure, Waller also took out the open mixed taplin with Charlie Burns, Daniel Collins, Isak Costello, Tully Elliott and Justin McMorland, and the under-19 board relay with Burns and Elliott.

“This year is my third season competing for Redhead, so it’s still pretty new,” she said.

“There are a lot of great mentors [there] like Boyd Conrick, Adam Rowe and Pete Scott for ski coaching, run training and stuff like that.

“But, a big thanks go to my main coaches, Cosi and Justin.

“They do a lot for me and they have to put up with me all the time 24/7.

“Then there’s my mum and dad, who take me everywhere, and my sisters and my community at Redhead.

“It’s very close, like a big family.

“So, that’s lovely.”

Swansea-Belmont also grabbed some impressive wins, via its NSW interstate competitor Kaitlin Rees, who finished first in the under-17 Female Ironperson, having earlier beaten two Zaras – Kasprowicz of North Curl Curl SLSC and Campbell of Cooks Hill SLSC – to the gold in the under-17 female swim.

Not to be outdone, she teamed up with Kaleah Kingston to secure the under-17 board rescue and Luana Da Rocha, Phoebe Doran and Emerson Leadbeatter to capture first in the under-17 beach relay.

Maddix Burke managed the same double as Rees, doing so for Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC in the under-15 male category.

In the end, Redhead finished third on the overall point score, ahead of fellow Hunter club Swansea-Belmont SLSC, North Cronulla SLSC and Coogee SLSC – all of whom were a handful of wins away from a podium place themselves.

Newport topped the list for a near unbelievable 10th straight time after three days of fierce and fervent competition, with Wanda SLSC in second.

OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP POINT SCORE TOP 15

  • Newport SLSC – 465
  • Wanda SLSC – 220
  • Redhead SLSC – 163
  • Swansea Belmont SLSC – 159
  • North Cronulla SLSC – 146
  • Coogee SLSC – 139
  • Cudgen Headland SLSC – 117
  • Manly LSC – 107
  • Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC – 96
  • South Maroubra SLSC – 96
  • North Curl Curl SLSC – 88
  • Cronulla SLSC – 88
  • North Bondi SLSC – 77
  • Elouera SLSC – 73
  • Terrigal SLSC – 68

Hunter results

Gold

  • Kaitlin Rees (Swansea Belmont, U17 Female Surf Race)
  • Lani Waller (Redhead, U19 Female Surf Race)
  • Lani Waller (Redhead, U19 Female Board Race)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Thomas Hall, Samuel Murphy, Aidan Rae (U17 Male Single Ski Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Luana Da Rocha, Phoebe Doran, Emerson Leadbeatter, Kaitlin Rees (U17 Female Beach Relay)
  • Redhead A – Charlie Burns, Daniel Collins, Isak Costello, Tully Elliott, Justin McMorland, Lani Waller (Open Mixed Taplin)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Kaleah Kingston, Kaitlin Rees (U17 Female Board Rescue)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Kai Cook, Will Paterson, Hamish Rae (U15 Male Board Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Billy Foran, Samuel Murphy, Aidan Rae (U17 Male Board Relay)
  • Redhead A – Blake Cook, Kane Edwards, Brodie Wright (U19 Male Board Relay)
  • Redhead A – Charlie Burns, Tully Elliott, Lani Waller (U19 Female Board Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Thomas Chalmers, Mitchell Chalmers (U15 Male 2 x 1km Beach Run Relay)
  • Kaitlin Rees (Swansea Belmont, U17 Female Ironperson)
  • Lani Waller (Redhead, Open Female Ironperson)
  • Lani Waller (Redhead, U19 Female Ironperson)
  • Cooks Hill A – Jack Breasley, Stephen Carcary, Alexander Walker, Charlie Walker (U19 Male Surf Teams)
  • Emerson Leadbeatter (Swansea Belmont, U17 Female Beach Flags)

Silver

  • Charlie Burns (Redhead, U19 Female Board Race)
  • Nicholas Stoddart (Swansea Belmont, Open Male Board Race)
  • Brodie Wright (Redhead, U17 Male Board Race)
  • Emerson Leadbeatter (Swansea Belmont, U17 Female Beach Sprint)
  • Redhead A – Tully Elliott, Macy Waller, Andie Widseth (U17 Female Single Ski Relay)
  • William Watts (Redhead, U19 Male Single Ski)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Luana Da Rocha, Phoebe Doran, Kaylee Dowsett, Emerson Leadbeatter (U19 Female Beach Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Cambell Connolly, Phoebe Doran, Thomas Hall, Emerson Leadbeatter (U17 Mixed Beach Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Jack Johns, Phoebe Doran, Emerson Leadbeatter, Tye Worell (U19 Mixed Beach Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont B – Bodi Bone, Mitchell Chalmers, Thomas Chalmers, Kai Cook (U15 Male Cameron Relay)
  • Redhead A – Charlie Burns, Lani Waller, Tully Elliott (U19 Female Taplin)
  • Redhead A – Daniel Collins, Blake Cook, Isak Costello, Samuel Djodan, Kane Edwards, Justin McMorland (Open Male Taplin)
  • Cooks Hill A – Lily Egan, Alexis Sutherland (U15 Female Board Rescue)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Phoebe Doran, Emerson Leadbeatter (U17 Female 2 x 1km Beach Run Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Cambell Connolly, Tye Worell (U19 Male 2 x 1km Beach Run Relay)
  • Charlie Walker (Cooks Hill, U19 Male Ironperson)
  • Luana Da Rocha (Swansea Belmont, U17 Female Beach Flags)
  • Lucinda McNabb (Merewether, U15 Female Beach Flags)

Bronze

  • Zara Campbell (Cooks Hill, U17 Female Surf Race)
  • Alexis Sutherland (Cooks Hill, U15 Female Board Race)
  • William Griffiths (Redhead, U15 Male Board Race)
  • Redhead A – Charlie Burns, Tully Elliott, Lani Waller (U19 Female Single Ski Relay)
  • Redhead A – Blake Cook, Elliott Graham, William Watts (U19 Male Single Ski Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Beau McGregor, Josh Murphy, Greg Tobin (Open Male Single Ski Relay)
  • Redhead A – Elliott Graham, Brodie Macadam, Brodie Wright (U17 Male Single Ski Relay)
  • Tully Elliott (Redhead, U17 Female Single Ski)
  • Daniel Collins (Redhead, Open Male Single Ski)
  • Elliott Graham (Redhead, U17 Male Single Ski)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Beau McGregor, Kurt Murphy, Nicholas Stoddart (Open Male Board Relay)
  • Redhead A – Charlie Burns, Macy Waller, Lani Waller (Open Female Board Relay)
  • Redhead A – Kane Edwards, Brodie Macadam, Brodie Wright (U17 Male Board Relay)
  • Redhead A – Bronte Bowker, Tully Elliott, Macy Waller (U17 Female Board Relay)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Harry Hall, Will Paterson (U15 Male 2 x 1km Beach Run Relay)
  • Kane Edwards (Redhead, U17 Male Ironperson)
  • Alexis Sutherland (Cooks Hill, U15 Female Ironperson)
  • Daniel Collins (Redhead, Open Male Ironperson)
  • Charlie Burns (Redhead, U19 Female Ironperson)
  • Swansea Belmont A – Bodi Bone, Hamish Rae, Kai Cook, Liam Doyle (U15 Male Surf Team)
  • Redhead A – Charlie Burns, Hannah Hodgetts, Lani Waller, Andie Widseth (U19 Female Surf Teams)

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