ON BOARD: Mason Hebbard competing at the North Aussies in Mackay last weekend.
ON BOARD: Mason Hebbard competing at the North Aussies in Mackay last weekend.

Emu Park surf lifesavers do well at North Aussies

EMU PARK surf lifesavers shone at the North Australian Surf Lifesaving Titles (North Aussies) held at Mackay last weekend.

The club sent 18 competitors and all came home with a placing and seven of them were selected in the Queensland Country team.

They were Mason Hebbard and Matilda Phelan in the under 17s, Ethan Murphy and Jacob Spark in the under 15s, Liam Maxwell and Joshua Williams in the under 14's and Annie Murphy (reserve) in the under 13s.

For Mason Hebbard, it was a medal haul. The 15-year-old Emmaus College student collected two golds, three silvers and three bronze across his eight events. And he was named age champion as well as Iron man for the North Aussies.

This is no mean achievement, given that Hebbard is two years younger than many of his competitors in the under 17 division.

A talented swimmer, Hebbard has been in surf lifesaving since he was six and says he much prefers the beach based competition to the pool.

"I like how you just don't have to swim up and back following the black line in the pool," Hebbard said.

"There is the surf element and you get to catch waves and there are so many different events."

In the last two decades surf lifesaving has grown in Australia to become a mainstream professional summer sport and Hebbard wants to try and make it to the top.

"Definitely, I would love to compete professionally," he said.

"But I would probably have to move somewhere like the Sunshine Coast to get looked at. And I might do that after school. I am not sure if I am good enough but I would like to find out and give it a go."

Hebbard was selected as a swimmer in the six strong 15-17 years Queensland Country team, with four swimmers and two beach event specialists and will next contest the Queensland Country Surf Lifesaving Championships at Alexandra Headland on the Gold Coast at the end of this month. Queensland Country will be up against Point Danger, the Sunshine Coast and the traditionally very strong Gold Coast.

"This will be my third Queensland country championships," Hebbard said.

"It is really tough and this year will be even tougher for me because I will be competing against 17-year-olds."



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