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DHL 2011 Aussies: Eckstein conquers Kurrawa and Ky for first gold


Northcliffe's Shannon Eckstein leaves Ky Hurst in his wake - Photo: harvpix.com

Ironman Shannon Eckstein drew first blood in the individual gold medal chase at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Kurrawa today.

Northcliffe’s Eckstein managed to get the better of Kurrawa’s seven-time Australian open surf race champion Ky Hurst in the Restricted (over 24 years) surf race after the pair provided an outstanding display of surfing skills in the tricky, windswept conditions.

It was the first individual surf swimming final of the championships.

Eckstein and Hurst both surfed their way down two waves, milking them dry, before Eckstein reached the shore closer to the finishing flags to run up and claim the gold ahead of Ironman rival Hurst with Cronulla’s Mark Simpson third.

Northcliffe legend Steve Fry said it was one of the best displays of surfing he had seen by two of Australia’s greats, who will line up in tomorrow’s opening round of the coveted National Ironman championship.

“What a display of surfing by two of the best going around, it was some of the best wave riding I’ve seen in difficult conditions,” said Fry.

Meanwhile Mooloolaba’s Sarah Kime collected a rare surf teams treble, winning two gold and one bronze medal in the under 17, under 19 and open women’s surf teams, while team mate Danielle Allen won two gold medals.


The victorious Mooloolaba under 17 surf team - Photo: harvpix.com

Kime started her rare medal collection when she teamed with Allen, Maddy Dunn and Teisha Jenkins to win the under 17 surf teams before joining Ironwomen Alicia Marriott and Allira Richardson and Amy Thompson to take bronze in the open event behind the two Northcliffe teams.

But for Kime and Allen, their day finished with a golden glow when they joined Clare Harris and Kelly-Anne Perkins to win gold in the under 19 surf teams.

Northcliffe’s Number One team Bonnie Hancock, Courtney Hancock, Elizabeth Pluimers and Kristyl Smith and Northcliffe’s Number Two team Harriett Brown, Ayla Hancock-Barrett, Casey Leo-Litzow and Jess Walker were first and second in the Open Surf Teams.

There was further joy for the Northcliffe club with the Number Two team of Brown, Bonnie Hancock and Terri Sullivan getting the better of defending champions, Northcliffe’s Number Two team of Smith, Pluimers and Courtney Hancock.


Northcliffe gold: Bonnie Hancock, Harriet Brown and Terri Sullivan celebrate their victory - Photp harvpix.com

It was gold medal number nine for Sullivan, who was the star of the Masters Championships, winning eight gold medals.

Meanwhile earlier in the day defending Australian Ironwoman champion Kristyl Smith said she doubts she will go much further in the event at the DHL 2011 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships despite comfortably making it through her opening heat today.

Smith, of Northcliffe, was far from happy with her performance in difficult conditions at Kurrawa beach despite placing second in tricky conditions.

Not even the knowledge she had survived a tough heat could bring a smile to her face.

“I really don’t know if I’ll progress through the next round,” was Smith’s frank assessment of her chances of winning a third Australian Ironwoman title in Sunday’s final.

“I had a cyst on my head lanced yesterday and another near my eye – I’ve really been in the wars.

“I’m going to be concentrating on team events this week and try to earn points for the club.”

The biggest casualty of the first round in the Ironwoman was Smith’s clubmate Harriet Brown, who won the silver medal at the recent Queensland championships but could do no better than ninth place in her heat and failed to progress to the quarter-finals.

Olympic kayaking gold medallist Ken Wallace today made a long overdue return to his first love when he raced away from his rivals in the opening round of the hotly contested single ski championship at the 2011 Aussies.


Ken Wallace was impressive in the early ski race rounds - Photo: harvpix.com

Wallace, of Tugun, progressed to the second round without any problems in choppy and windblown one-metre surf.

“If I include that race that’s only the third time I’ve been on a ski this season,” said Wallace who has been concentrating his efforts on preparing to defend his K1 500 title at next year’s London Olympics.

“It’s kind of like riding a bike I guess, once you learn you can slip back into it but the guys that are in the surf all the time definitely have an advantage over us.”

Fellow Olympians Tate Smith (Northcliffe) and David Smith (Warilla Barrack Point) also progressed to round two, as did defending champion Murray Stewart (Manly).

The DHL 2011 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships continue at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast until Sunday.

Results Day 1: DHL 2011 Aussies

Male:
Open: Champion Lifesaver: S Snell (Northcliffe) M White (Alexandra Headland) S McKenzie (Semaphore)

U19 Yrs:Champion Lifesaver: R McGregor (Northcliffe) J Findlay (Bundaberg) C Redden (Jan Juc)

U17 Yrs:Surf Teams: 1. Northcliffe 1 (Jordan Cooke-Labache, Stefaan Demopolous, Lachlan Feather, Jordan Harrison) 2. Wanda (Lachlan Clarke, Jay Furniss, Luke Hickel, Brodie Schott) 3. Noosa Heads (Sam Bell, Robbie Hayes, Sean Hayes, Jett Kenny) Champion Lifesaver: N Stevens (Dicky Beach) B Doughan (Alexandra Headland) L Yeates (South Curl Curl)

U15 Yrs:Surf Teams: 1. Northcliffe  (Benjamin Bannan, Zach Brown, Jerry Dennis, Brodie Smith) 2. Cronulla  (Kyle Druery, Ryan Markey, Kye Moore, Jack Robertson) 3. Maroochydore (Matthew Barclay, Jonty Dodson, Ryan Dunn , Scott Pegg) Champion Lifesaver: P Tilleard (Sunshine Beach) Z Brown (Northcliffe) B Johnston (Bundaberg)

Female:

Open:Surf Teams: 1. Northcliffe 1 (Bonnie Hancock, Courtney Hancock, Elizabeth Pluimers, Kristyl Smith) 2. Northcliffe 2 (Harriet Brown, Ayla Dunlop-Barrett, Casey Leo-Litzow, Jessica Walker) 3. Mooloolaba A (Sarah Kime, Alicia Marriott, Allira Richardson, Amy Thompson) Surf Board Relay: 1. Northcliffe 2 (Harriet Brown, Bonnie Hancock, Terri Sullivan) 2. Northcliffe 1 (Courtney Hancock, Elizabeth Pluimers, Kristyl Smith) 3. Terrigal A (Alicia Bain, Rachelle King, Amy Nurthen) MalibuLong Board Riding: T Smith (Northcliffe) A Charles (North Cronulla) M Quinn (Dee Why) Champion Lifesaver: K McKenzie (Northcliffe) M Pelly (Manly) K White (Alexandra Headland)

U19 Yrs:Surf Teams: 1. Mooloolaba A (Danielle Allen, Clare Harris, Sarah Kime, Kelly-Ann Perkins) 2. Warilla / Barrack Point Black (Kirra Jones, Lara Pecchiari, Maddison Prior, Jordan White) 3. Terrigal A (Alicia Bain, Jessica Davis, Rachelle King, Amy Nurthen) Champion Lifesaver: B Seymour (Alexandra Headland) N Dreibergs (Trigg Island) I Hancock (Northcliffe)

U17 Yrs:Surf Teams: 1. Mooloolaba A (Danielle Allen, Maddy Dunn, Teisha Jenkins, Sarah Kime) 2. Wanda (Llani Hyer-Warton, Jessica Laurcella, Taylar Puskaris, Georgie Woods) 3. Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park A (Miranda Davies, Brooke Eacott, Ashleigh Meuwissen, Kate Walker) Champion Lifesaver: S Leng-Cole (Alexandra Headland) E Jeffcoat (Dee Why) S Scott (Kurrawa)

U15 Yrs:Surf Teams: 1. Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park A (Rachel Barker, Jordan Cook, Nicola Murray, Ursula Zerbst) 2. Northcliffe 1 (Jessica Byrne, Dorine Pantacchini, Courtney Pierce, Jessica Unicomb) 3. Wanda Blue (Danielle Mcmahon, Elyssa Pierce, Rachel Read, Georgie Woods) Champion Lifesaver: C Webber (Noosa Heads) C Short (Northcliffe) C Jess (Tannum Sands)

Mixed:

Open:Restricted Surf: S Eckstein (Northcliffe) K Hurst (Kurrawa) M Simpson (Cronulla) Patrol: 1. Northcliffe (Kathryn Mckenzie, Damien Moffrey, Jake Nicholson, Nick Pluimers, Trent Rowe, Stuart Snell) 2. Jan Juc Jan Juc (Stephen Iannazzo, William Mccance, Leigh Ryan, Dean Sibun, David Ulbrick, Luke Van Meel) 3. Alexandra Headland (David Brown, Bradley Doughan, Jacob Doughan, Brigette Seymour, Katelyn White, Michael White)

U17: Patrol:1. Sunshine Beach (Maddison Ashman, Georgia Nolan, Molly Redwood, Peter Tilleard) 2. Dicky Beach 1 (Karlie Lenz, Jack Marchant, Tyla Mitchell, Nicholas Stevens) 3. Dicky Beach 2 (Michael Eyles, Samuel Hull, Jessica Hutson, Ashleigh Scougall)

U15 Yrs:First Aid: 1. Manly (Sophie Hughes, Elanor Jones) 2. Noosa Heads (Emma Lowrie, Elvie Wytenburg) 3. Maroochydore (April Burnett, Georgie Van Panhuis)

Find more information on the DHL 2011 Aussies here