Jahly Stokes announces arrival at the SLSQ Youth Champs
HERVEY Bay may have witnessed the arrival of Australia's next great surf life saving competitor.
Jahly Stokes may only be young, but the daughter of 13-time Australian gold medal-winning ironman Brad Stokes and 2000 World Board Championship and International Ironwoman Championship winner Denby Stokes completely dominated her age group at the Surf Life Saving Queensland Youth Championships.
The Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club competitor won five gold and two silver medals.
She took a clean sweep of water events, including the Ironwoman for which three-time Nutri-Grain series champion Courtney Hancock was a guest starter, and silver for the Cameron Relay and Surf Board Rescue events.
Jahly, who has participated in nippers since under-7s four years ago, said it was a result she expected despite the stark contrast between conditions - namely, the waves - at her home club and Hervey Bay.
"Most of the time I do well in races," Jahly said.
While Jahly boasts a pedigree of which includes two of Australia's best surf life saving athletes, the youngster loves her sport not only for competition, but for the social aspect.
"I love competing and hanging around with all of my friends," Jahly said.
Mrs Stokes, who coaches at Kawana Waters SLSC, said it was great to see her kids enjoy and excel at a sport of which she dominated.
While the Stokes family do compete heavily in surf life saving and their other great passion, surfing, Mrs Stokes said they had experimented with other sports.
"My eldest son does just surfing, but Jahly also does netball and the boys have done football," she said. "Predominantly, we're at the beach and surf life saving and surfing are a big part of our lives.
"They don't train a lot, but they spend a lot of time at the beach."
The comparisons between Jahly and Hancock could continue if the young Sunshine Coast nipper follows a career in surf life saving.
A young Hancock made her debut at New South Wales' equivalent event.
Hancock, who grew up at Sawtell on NSW's mid-north coast, dominated the Ironwoman event as an under-11s competitor.
She has gone on to become a two-time Coolangatta Gold winner and arguably the nation's household name when it comes to the sport.
While it is hard for someone as young as Jahly to confidently predict her future, her other career option spoke volumes of her family's love of the beach.
"When I'm older I might do surfing," Jahly, a big Stephanie Gilmore fan, said.
DAY TWO WRAP, courtesy Surf Life Saving Queensland
SUNSHINE Beach, Alexandra Headlands and Maroochydore shone on the second day of competition.
Sunshine Beach took home silver medals from the U15 Male Cameron Relay, U15 Female Cameron Relay, U15 Female Surf Board Relay and U15 Female Surf Team events.
Gold and bronze was won by the teams from Maroochydore in the U14 Male Cameron Relay, along with a silver in the U12 Female Surf Board Rescue.
Taylor Webb came up with the goods to take out silver in the U12 Male Beach Flags.
Alexandra Headland's Neve Underwood took gold in the U13 Female Beach flags and backed it up with another gold as part of the U13 Female Beach Relay, to then take home a silver from the following Beach Sprint.
The strength of the Alex Heads teams was on display with the U15 Females scoring a hat trick winning gold in the Surf Board Relay, Surf Team, and Cameron Relay.
The U14 Females also won gold in the Cameron Relay and the Surf Board Relay, and then silver in the Surf Board Rescue and Surf Team events.