Massive display of junior grit at Rainbow carnival
A SEA of pink covered Rainbow Beach as more than 890 competitors from the Sunshine and Cooloola Coast regions dived into their first Nippers Carnival of the season.
Windy conditions, which added some chop to the top of the water, did not detract from the success of the carnival, which takes prominent place on the nippers calendar as the only all-ages carnival in Surf Lifesaving's Sunshine Coast branch.
Rainbow Beach Surf Lifesaving Club president Shane Handy said including all ages on the one day was a huge draw card, compared to other Sunshine Coast branch carnivals, where U8-U10 and U11-U15 carnivals are run separately.
The best of the best from 16 clubs competed in a display of miniature iron men and women in the making. The athletes, from the 15 clubs making up the Sunshine Coast branch which stretches from Rainbow Beach in the north to Redcliffe in the south (and Hervey Bay who attend by invitation) showed true strength and endurance as spectators urged them on.
Skill, determination and grit shone on the sand and in the surf as boys and girls dug deep for a place in deep water wades (U8), the wade race (U8-9), flags (all ages), sprints (all ages), the surf race (U9-14), boards (U9-14) and ironperson (U11-14).
Handy said 110 officials made up a large part of the team, alongside Rainbow Beach community volunteers who were the real reason the day was deemed a success.
"It was a success for our competition and other clubs," Handy told The Gympie Times.
"They love our carnival because it's organised fairly well. Organisation comes down to volunteers."
The 2016/17 nippers season launched at Rainbow Beach at the beginning of the month, but the club is still welcoming new members to join. The program is for boys and girls aged between five and 13 years and runs until the end of term one next year.