Surfing NSW – New Chair and Deputy Chair (July 2024)

Surfing NSW today announced the election of Ben Rolleston as its new Chair, and Lyndel Gray as Deputy Chair. This follows the resignation of John O’Neill and Harry Hodge from the Board of Directors after almost 15 years of esteemed service.

The Surfing NSW Junior High Performance Program (JHPP) has kicked off its first session with a team development camp in the Shoalhaven at Ingenia Holidays beach front park at Merry Beach.

The Merry Beach location was perfect with cabins just metres from some of Shoalhaven’s most pristine surf break, ideal for the surfers to train and play in all the conditions the weather and ocean dished up over the three days.

Some of the top surf coaches in the state accompanied 28 of the team’s athletes for the intensive camp. In the wake of the weekend, the surfers are beaming after being inspired and empowered not only as individuals, but also as a team.

The aim of the camp was to establish camaraderie and teamwork amongst the group of under 18-year-olds, whilst providing collaborative technical skills sessions and surf-specific training.

The team was also lucky enough to have guest pro surfers, Nathan Hedge and Philippa Anderson attend to inspire them in and out of the water. They worked with the coaching team to help the young athletes understand how to deal with stress and pressure and joined in on heat simulations.

“It’s really important to focus on the holistic development of our surfers and their long term success,” said Surfing NSW High Performance Program coordinator, Ryan Haworth.

“This camp was less technical and more team based. We brought in great coaches and trainers to help bring the team together and both the surfers and coaches had a great weekend.”

Ollie Ryssenbeek (Merewether) (pictured below) is 17 years old and has been selected for the JHPP for the first time. He will also attend his first Australian Junior Championships this year.

Ollie was blown away by what he learnt over the weekend, but also impressed the coaches to be awarded ‘Camp Champ’.

“The camp was an eye-opener,” he said.

“It was a change of focus for us. Most training sessions we do are technique-heavy but this was showing us the importance of how to take a loss; how to win when you win and win when you lose.

“There was a lot of time spent on having the mindset to use every opportunity the best you can. Every single one whether a win, loss or draw, there’s something to learn and it’s all part of the journey as an athlete.”

Ollie Ryssenbeek by Mayan Images

Lani Cairncross (Kiama) is 12 years old and was selected in the Under 14’s team. The south coast surfer was awarded the Camp Charger award and said she’d never been on a camp like this one, taking a lot out of the collaborative learning.

“I only just made it into the JHPP this year and I got so much out of it, having the coaches there and surfing a heat against Philippa Anderson,” she said.

“The biggest thing I learnt was about compression in my turns and finishing strong. I also learned a lot about stretching and the strength and conditioning parts of being a surfer.”

As one of the youngest surfers she admitted the team building was also invaluable.

“I loved meeting everyone in the team because I’m quite shy but it was so good surfing and hanging out with everyone, even the older coaches,” she said.

Lani Caincross by Mayan Images

Fresh back from the World Championship event, the Tahiti Pro, Nathan Hedge was stoked to impart his experience with the team.

“I was blown away by the kids’ capacity for understanding and the questions they were asking,” he said. “They were so interested to learn and take everything in then putting it into action the next day. It was encouraging to see them out there and actually using the techniques in their heats, it was pretty powerful to see.

Around the teamwork theme of the camp Hedge reiterated to the kids the importance of strength in numbers.

“You’re a force to be reckoned with when you band together and stay close as a pack, when you’re representing your state, you’re just stronger and the other state’s feel that energy.

“Everything from helping clear tables, packing up and the way the kids were conducting themselves across the weekend showed they got it. I was so proud of them from what I observed,” he said.

Nathan Hedge by Mayan Images

Shoalhaven Deputy Mayor, Liza Butler (pictured above with Keira Buckpitt) paid a visit to the camp and was thrilled the region could host the most elite junior surfers.

“It’s fantastic to have the NSW Junior High Performance Program here at Merry Beach this weekend. We have some of the best surfing spots in the world,” she said.

“Surfing is such a great thing for kids to be involved in. It creates a healthy lifestyle, they learn to appreciate the ocean and their environment. It’s a win, win all round. And the fact  they can go on and make a career out of it is absolutely fantastic.”

Additionally, the camp participants took part in the Surfers Rescue 24/7 course to give them lifesaving skills and confidence to perform rescues in the water when required.

The group (excluding Under 12’s) will represent NSW at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles at North Stradbroke Island from 26 November to 3 December 2022.

Deputy Mayor Liza Butler by Mayan Images

s The program for the U14-U18 athletes who will take part in the Australian Titles includes three state camps;

The U12’s don’t compete at the Australian Titles, however they still have an extensive program.

The entire team will also catch up for monthly online development sessions where they will have the opportunity to be inspired and empowered by a number of sport specialists and representative athletes.

Camp Competition Winners:

  • U16 Boys: Fred Carmody
  • U18 Boys: Dom Thomas
  • U14 Girls: Alice Hodgson
  • U16 Girls: Kyla Renes
  • U18 Girls: Lucy Brown
  • U12 Boys: Jagger Phillips
  • U12 Girls: Olive Morriss
  • U14 Boys: Ben Zanatta

Camp Awards:

  • Camp Champ: Oliver Ryssenbeek and Annalise Wong
  • Camp Charger: Taj Air and Lani Cairncross

Camp Coaches:

  • Nick James (Manly)
  • Michael Crisp (Lennox Head)
  • Talina Wilson (Illawarra)
  • Wayne Hudson (Port Macquarie)
  • Matt Hoar (Delmany)
  • Nick Squires (Illawarra)
  • Dilan Carestia (Sydney)
  • Nathan Hedge (Northern Beaches)
  • Philippa Anderson (Newcastle)

Camp Participants:

  • Dom Thomas (Swansea)
  • Ollie Ryssenbeek (Merewether)
  • Lucy Brown (Newport)
  • Jada Thomas (Barrack Point)
  • Keira Buckpitt (Culburra)
  • Felix Byrnes (Merewether)
  • Sol Gruendling (Freshwater)
  • Dayan Conti (Kiama Downs)
  • Fred Carmody (Bondi)
  • Lex O’Connor (Queenscliff)
  • Milla Brown (Newport)
  • Kyla Renes (Caves Beach
  • Ruby Trew (Manly)
  • Sydney Chevalier (Warriewood)
  • Chex Dempsey (Bateau Bay)
  • Taj Air (Thirroul)
  • Balin Cullen (Avalon)
  • Lachlan Arghyros (Kingscliff)
  • Murray Bamberry (Cromer)
  • Ben Zanatta (Dee Why)
  • Lucy Darragh (Gerringong)
  • Annalise Wong (Northern Beaches)
  • Halo Banfield (Byron Bay)
  • Lani Cairncross (Kiama Downs)
  • Alice Hodgson( Kiama Downs)
  • Gracie Ball (Maroubra)
  • Locana Cullen (Avalon)
  • Max Crowley (Coffs Harbour)
  • Sandon Vowels (Scotts Head)
  • Tommy Hainsworth (Merewether)
  • Jaggar Phillips (Matraville)
  • Olive Morriss (Avoca Beach)

Mark Windon
OAM Executive Director

Felicity Conlan
Board Member

Francis Coady
Board Member

David Gyngell

Mike Baird

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