WAUCHOPE-Bonny Hills Surf Club experienced every possible emotion throughout the 2015/16 North Coast Surfboat series.
From the highs of winning two titles to the heartbreak of losing one of their own.
Their open women’s crew won the series and took home a gold medal from the NSW country titles while the men’s crew took out reserve grade honours and had a silver medal to show for their efforts at the under-23 state titles.
But along the way they lost part of their heart and soul when life member Grahame Buckley passed away following a surfboat training session accident at Lake Cathie.
Boat captain Tony Kee, who will enter his fifth season in charge, said Buckley’s tragic death had affected everyone.
“It was just a freak accident and some of the crew are still reeling from that even though it was back in March,” he said.
Kee admitted the incident put everything into perspective.
But he hopes the club can replicate their success from last season despite crew numbers dwindling from seven teams to just two.
“We’ve had different numbers over the years and we’re always looking for new numbers and this year looks like we’re building again,” Kee said.
“We’ve got two titles to defend so we’ve got our work cut out, but we’re looking to build on that success and go better again this year.”
The under 23 men’s crew will step up from reserve grade into the open men’s division and Kee was looking forward to watching their season unfold.
“The last few years have been amazing for the club,” he said.
“We’ve always had a good tradition of surfboat rowing but the last few years we’ve won local north coast boat series premierships and club pointscores.
“We’ve got a great beach, plenty of space and a supportive club behind us as well so we can enjoy everything the surf gods throw at us.”
The season kicks off at Evans Head on October 15 and 16.