FOCUSED: Oliver Earl from Mudjimba Beach Surf Club during a competition in January.
FOCUSED: Oliver Earl from Mudjimba Beach Surf Club during a competition in January. Patrick Woods

Mudjimba out to make mark on youth surf sports championships

MUDJIMBA has embarked on a David and Goliath-style battle on the shores of Alexandra Headland, with the club taking on some of the state's sporting powerhouses at the Queensland Youth Surf Life Saving Championships.

Their team of 32 nippers is significantly fewer than last year's podium-finishing clubs of Alexandra Headland (122 nippers), Maroochydore (90 nippers), and Northcliffe (68 nippers).

This time three years ago Mudjimba had never won an individual medal at the youth championships, however the relatively small team entered the championships full of confidence after punching above its weight last year to win two gold medals, three silvers, and four bronzes.

Head coach and director of surf sports Todd McSwann said the club was hoping to continue its recent strong form, particularly in the all-age relay after winning the event recently at the Sunshine Coast Branch Championships.

"Mudjimba has medalled every year for the past four years in that event at a branch level and we've medalled at the state level once back in 2015, so it's certainly a pet event for us,” he said.

"It's like the Holy Grail of beach sprinting, and one of our favourite events because it binds the whole club together. You have under-11s all the way through to under-15s and a mixture of genders and athletes, so we're certainly going there with the hope to be competitive in that race,” he said.

All of Mudjimba's medals at last year's championships came through beach sprinting, but McSwann said the club was also hopeful of extending its success to the ocean events.

"Mudjimba's quite well known for being a strong force on the beach, and our coaching philosophies have always been very heavily aligned to the beach sprints, flags and relays,” he said.

"But this year we've introduced a new suite of volunteer coaches as well as existing coaches who have stepped up and, in a first for us, one of our athletes has qualified for the under-13 ironwoman, which is a really positive sign for the club.

"The backbone of surf lifesaving is the swim and the board and those water events, so it's great to see that continuing to grow from a Mudjimba perspective and it's certainly something we look forward to watching,” he said.

While relatively small in size, the team is also committed to making its presence felt in other ways on the beach.

"Mudjimba is a 100 per cent volunteer club and, unlike some of the bigger clubs, we don't have any paid coaches or any paid team managers,” he said.

"But we like the fact that what we do is surf lifesaving and everyone on the sand is there because they want to be involved in it.

"Whether you're there to win or just to fly the flag, we make it our absolute, definitive intent and purpose to be loud and proud, and cheer and scream, and get behind every single person.”

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