MEREWETHER Surfboard Club will focus on pushing higher on the national stage after fending off North Shelly Boardriders to defend their NSW north surftag title on their home break.
The Merewether Blue side of Mitch Ross, Ryan Callinan, Craig Anderson, Jesse Adam and Paul Parkes combined for a score of 95.73, edging out North Shelly (1) 93.83 on Saturday in inconsistent waves.
Merewether Black, the club's second team of Jake Sylvester, Travis Lynch, Michael Spencer, Jackson Brent and Rhys Smith, were third with 85.5.
Each rider catches three waves, with the second worth double points, before handing over to a teammate in hour-long contests.
Ross (22.77), Callinan (28.1) and Anderson (21.37) set up the victory for the Merewether line-up before Adam (11.27) and Parkes (9.23) did their best with limited time left in the decider.
Shane Holmes gave North Shelly a chance with a final-best 30.23 as their third rider, but the rest of the side could not make up the difference.
"We had the same exact team last year and won it, so it was good to do it again," Anderson said.
Port Macquarie (2) made up the four-team final, but were never in the hunt, scoring 48.4.
Anderson said the final dogfight between the top three sides was a reflection of the competition between the 32 teams on the day.
"It was pretty close the whole time," Anderson said.
"Everyone was pretty consistent through the final as well.
"And with the tag team events, it can go wrong at any time because you've got to catch three waves and you can't really fall off any.
"Your second wave is doubled as well, so you could go from first to last if you fall off that one."
The winning line-up claimed the regional title last year before bowing out in the semi-finals at nationals.
Anderson said they were keen to improve on that when the titles are held at Duranbah on the Gold Coast from April 5-7.
"We're looking forward to it, but it's always pretty tough there; there's always some tough competitors, some tour surfers and guys who are good at competing," he said.
The competition offers the winning club $15,000.