Shannon Eckstein and Liz Pluimers showed off the new competitor lycras at the launch of the DHL 2011 Aussies - Photo: harvpix.com
Over 20,000 surf lifesavers, coaches, officials and supporters from around Australia will join tens of thousands of spectators at the DHL 2011 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. The event will take place at the Gold Coast’s Kurrawa Beach from April 2-10 2011.
Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) Chief Executive Officer, Brett Williamson OAM said the whole movement was looking forward to a successful event.
“The Aussies provide a rare opportunity for all Surf Life Saving members to come together and celebrate as one,” said Williamson. “Once again, we are excited to host everyone here at Kurrawa Beach for nine days of great competition, showcasing our surf lifesavers’ fitness and skills.”
Following the tragic loss of Queenscliff athlete Saxon Bird at the 2010 Australian Championships, Williamson said the memory of Bird would be in the forefront of everyone’s mind during the Aussies.
“Throughout these Aussies, we will be remembering Saxon Bird and other surf lifesavers who have lost their lives while participating in surf lifesaving activities with a special service on the final Sunday of the Aussies. Also, we have struck the Saxon Bird perpetual trophy for the U19 Ironman Championship which will be presented to the winner of the event by Saxon’s father and sister,” Williamson said.
“While it is a tough time for the whole surf lifesaving community, it has been unimaginable for the Bird family and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
SLSA is trialling an extended program which builds in rest days as well as compulsory fluoro lycra vests for competitors.
“The decisions on these trials were made by SLSA following the normal review process after the conclusion of the 2010 Aussies and well before receipt of the report from the Independent Panel commissioned by SLSA to review the 2010 Aussies,” Mr. Williamson said.
Listen to Shannon Eckstein and Liz Pluimers' thoughts on the new lycras below.
Competitors Shannon Eckstein and Elizabeth Pluimers can’t wait to get into the water. “Aussie titles are not easy to come by and I was lucky enough to win my first gold medal in the under 16 surf race in 1999, a title my brother Caine also won in 2002,” Eckstein said.
Australian team captain and world champion Shannon Eckstein is a mainstay of the Northcliffe Aussies-assault and added his third Australian Ironman title at Scarborough in 2008.
Apart from his individual performances, Eckstein has also participated in the club’s Taplin, surf and board relays and this year is also looking to join the ski relay.
“The thrill of winning is something you work hard for and something you dream about but in the surf there are so many variables and anyone can win on the day.
“But that’s why we do it; that’s why we throw ourselves into the ocean day-in day-out.
“The thrill and enjoyment of the Aussies, which attracts so many competitors from so many clubs from around Australia, is a wonderful culmination of a hard season of training and racing.”
Northcliffe’s Elizabeth Pluimers is a competitor synonymous with success at the Aussies after being named female competitor of the Australian Championships in 2006 at Kurrawa.
That year Pluimers won an amazing six gold medals in the under 19 Ironwoman, the under 19 surf teams, the Open and Under 19 Board Relays and the Open and under 19 Taplin Relays.
Like Eckstein, Pluimers has been a crucial member of the Northcliffe teams in Taplin, board relays and surf teams and agrees the opportunity to race in team events is a major plus.
“That year (2006) was a dream year for me. Everything I touched seemed to turn to gold as they say and it certainly brings back some great memories and I often use it as motivation,” Pluimers said.
“I’m certainly no different to anyone else. We all love to win individual gold medals but to share that experience with your team mates – there’s nothing better.
“At Northcliffe we pride ourselves in team events and I have had the opportunity to be in some awesome teams, especially the Taplin Relay which we have won for the last five years.
“The Aussies is about more than just competition. I love catching up with all of my friends, some who I only ever see at the Aussies. It’s about the camaraderie and good times you share, win, lose or draw.”
Also announced today were the dates for the 2012 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, which will take place at Kurrawa Beach from March 24-April 1.
For more information on the DHL 2011 Aussies, please visit www.sls.com.au/aussies