Stories flowed as fast as the beer at surfboat rowers reunion

The surfboat rowers reunion at the Golden Sands hotel on Friday, March 5, and following evening at Nambucca Heads Surf Life Saving Club far exceeded the expectations of the committee - former rowers Garry Knight, Ian Johnson, Alan Johnson, Garry Johnson and club secretary Chris Stewart - with 108 attending from all parts of Australia.

Howard Croker was the keynote speaker. Howard and his wife, Kaye, are founders of the famous family business, Croker Oars - specialists in rowing equipment and skis from Oxley Island, Taree.

When the club was rowing marathons in the '80s and early '90s at the Outback, the George Bass, and the Sydney Harbour Marathon in international competition, Howard was always there to help with rowing equipment.

Howard was supposed to be in Newcastle for the SLSC State Titles, but chose to come to Nambucca instead.

Ricky Buchanan was outstanding with the welcome to country address.

Mike Ryan as emcee was wonderful and everyone there had a story to tell; hearing them was made possible thanks to a new walking microphone donated by Kay Little.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey and husband, Warren, called in on their way to the Sergeant Matthew Locke Memorial day. Both are members of Bellingen Urunga Surf Lifesaving Club, and Melinda is a particular favourite with Nambucca Heads Surf lifesaving club members after her gracious help with the surf club renovations.

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from four 90-year-old boat sweeps present - Les [Jo] Cook, John White, Col Andrews, and Harold Fowler.

There were also interviews with Bill Stuart, an 88-year-old rower from Brisbane, and visiting 85-year-old former North Bondi and Bellingen Urunga sweep John Sayers.

There were too many rowers present to name all, but it would suffice to say they all started as juniors and progressed into rowers this club could be proud of, becoming professional life savers, winning lots of titles and medals, and culminating in the club placing in the top 10 of international marathon rowing.

Thanks to the Scotts Head rowers that attended for the afternoon and to the surf club volunteers who stayed to the finish and cleaned up.

The event was such a success the committee is now talking about doing the same in two years' time when the new veranda is completed.

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