WAUCHOPE-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club had their work cut out on the South Coast of New South Wales at the ASRL championships last weekend.
They took four crews to Mollymook Beach before surf conditions forced the event to move to Long Beach in Batemans Bay.
Boat sweep Steve Monaghan said the club's reserve men's crew led the way with a competitive first day before they were eliminated on Saturday.
"There was a pretty savage shore break and we had to wear helmets because the surf hazard rating was 14," he said.
"The reserve men scraped through their division which had over 100 boats.
"The first day in the surf they got through half of their races, so there were pretty harsh cuts after that; they survived until Saturday which was a great effort."
Monaghan said their surf skills were put to the test.
"The surf was really big and cranky and there were heaps of thrills and spills."
The Wauchope-Bonny Hills crews learned there were a lot of very large and fast crews throughout Australia some of which included still-water Olympic rowers and coaches.
"Someone from one of the other clubs said to me surfboat rowing is half as much practice with twice as much fun," Monaghan said.
They missed out on qualifying for the finals by a single point, but the club's under-23 Boatettes competed well.
"We got a third and two fourths out of our six races because the bigger girls just mowed them down in the flat water.
"They were smart off the beach, but just didn't have the strength; they were giving up to five years on some of the other crews."
The club now heads to the state titles at Blacksmiths Beach on March 6-8.
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