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Swansea High School and Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College – Tumbi Umbi Win Reflections Holiday Parks High School Team Challenge

February 20, 2018 Accolades No Comments Email Email

Fifty-Seven teams representing 28 high schools contested challenging conditions over two days at Merewether Beach, hoping to take out the 2018 Reflections Holiday Parks High School Team Challenge.

In the end it was an all Newcastle affair in the boys division, with teams from Swansea High, Newcastle High and Belmont Christian College beaten by Swansea’s first time in a tightly contested final.

Swansea High’s Red Team (46.1) edged out Swansea Blue (42.8) in second, consolidating the Lake Macquarie area’s growing reputation as a surfing hotspot after Frenchmans Board riders Club won the Orica Team Challenge earlier this month.

The stronger of the two Swansea High teams, which consisted of students Ethan Hartge, Jordy Liackman and Cooper Puttergill, took out all three of their heats on the way to the final after a quarter final elimination last year.

Ranked second overall in the point score going into the semi-finals, the team had a ‘quality wave’ mentality, focusing on the best waves rather than worrying about the bonus points system.

“The goal was to get three good waves in each heat,” Swansea High Surfing Coordinator Michael Duggen said.

“The team all get coached outside of school and are all part of Frenchmans Boardriders Club.

“We also surf once a week in school which has led to us becoming a very strong school in the sport.”

Ethan Hartge, who finished second in last weekend’s 16-and-under Sanbah Cadet Cup, said practicing the tag-team format in their coaching sessions paid off.

“We surf with Dan (Frodsham, of Newcastle Surf School) and he got us to practice ten minute heats just getting two waves to prepare us,” Ethan said.

The boys are hoping to return as a group next year to defend their title, being pushed by the much younger Swansea Blue Team consisting of students from Years 7 and 8.

A team who certainly know how to defend their title is Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College – Tumbi Umbi Campus’ girls’ team, who won the unique tag team event for the second year in a row.

With a stack of talent, including 16-and-under Australian champion Molly Picklum and fellow Shelly Beach surfer Jasmine McCorquodale, the Tumbi Umbi group rotated between four surfers throughout their heats on their way to topping the girls final.

Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Sports Coordinator Trent Davis praised the young team, specifying the competitiveness of the North Shellys Boardriders to the strong contingent of surfers at the school.

“We have a lot of young girls coming up in the school but particular girls are great – Molly is national champ and they are all getting better every year which is fantastic to see,” Mr Davis said.

With 42 boys and 15 girls entering the two day event, Reflections Holiday Parks CEO Steve Edmonds emphasised the importance of being involved in local events as a Newcastle based business.

“A big part of our guest lists at the parks are families who do a lot of surfing trips,” Mr Edmonds said.

“A major part of our company culture is to reinforce outdoor activities and with surfing being such a nature-based sport it’s the perfect combination for us.

“We have 37 parks across NSW with many of them in close distance to Newcastle. Both our Forster and Tuncurry parks are perfect for people to have a weekend away, or even closer we have Jimmys Beach and Hawks Nest which are great surfing spots for these young kids.

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2018 Reflections Holiday Parks High School Team Challenge Results

  1. Swansea High School Red (46.1)
  2. Swansea High School Blue (42.8)
  3. Belmont Christian College (39.0)
  4. Newcastle High School (30.0)


  1. Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College – Tumbi Umbi Campus (28.7)
  2. Narrabeen Sports High School (27.6)
  3. St Pius X High School (21.8)
  4. Mater Maria College (20.8)

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