After being forced onto Wallis Lake in 2019 due to big seas, organisers of the 2020 Battle of the Boats competition were over the moon to see the long-running event return to the surf.
"I can't put into words how happy everyone was to be back on the ocean," co-ordinator Elana Knight said.
"It was a perfect weekend. It was perfect weather. We had a wave."
Taking place at Elizabeth Beach on February 22 and 23, the two-day competition attracted 113 crews from surf clubs all across NSW, with Pacific Palms and Cape Hawke representing the Lower North Coast Branch.
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Ms Knight said the calibre of racing was once again very high, with a number of stand out crews in each division.
Crews from Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) proved dominant in a number of events, winning both the open men's and open women's divisions as well the Tim Knight Club Relay.
A crew from Bilgola SLSC won the men's masters while a crew from North Narrabeen SLSC took out the women's masters.
Ms Knight said the event was extremely well-regarded among surfboat rowers, with many crews using it as a warm-up for the State titles two weeks later.
"It's that chance before the State titles to see how you're going," she said.
"To see what your strengths are and where you have to improve."
The non-elimination format, which differs from many other surf boat competitions, is also a big draw.
"The opportunity for so much quality racing is what people come up for," Ms Knight said.
"It's a good family competition and a good getaway."
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Women's entries were also up, which was a pleasing result.
"This year celebrates 40 years of women in Surf Life Saving in Australia and it's great to see females in such strength of numbers at Battle of the Boats," Ms Knight said.
All in all, she believed it was another successful event, with the feedback from visiting crews proving overwhelmingly positive.
"We're always complimented for putting on such a big event as a small club," she said.
And there's no plans for the competition to stop any time soon, with the event set to go ahead for its 23rd year in 2021.
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