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DHL 2011 Aussies: Mercer and Sullivan take gold on opening day of Masters

Northcliffe's Terri Sullivan was all smiles as she took out gold in the 30-34 Ironwoman race - Photo:

April 2, 2011: Ironman legend Darren Mercer and Ironwoman Terri Sullivan were among the first competitors to grab gold on the opening day of the DHL 2011 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships at Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast today.

Bright sunshine and a onemetreswell greeted the 1500 masters competitors who reveled in the perfect conditions.  Mercer, competing for Noosa Heads showed he has lost nothing in the skills and fitness department with a comfortable win in the 40-44 years board race.

Mercer had not competed individually for some years after taking on the role of head coach at the Sunshine Coast based club.

He was a comfortable winner over surf race champion Paul Lemmon from the Terrigal club with Currumbin’s Brett Dowker just edging out Vikings teammate Michael Chan for the bronze.

Mercer unveiled dyed blonde hair after loosing a bet with members from his young squad.

“I challenged the under 17 boys surf teams that they could win the Queensland State championships after they had shown some doubt before the race.

I told them I would dye my hair blond if they won and it was obviously enough incentive and they took home the gold.

They left me with no alternative but to keep my end of the bargin.”

Earlier in the day Lemmon had to put out all stops to defend his age group surf race championship which saw him grab gold from North Burleigh’s Colin Braund and Coolangatta’s Rick Van Kampen.

Sullivan, a prolific gold medallist and Ironwoman in her own right started her masters career with a comfortable win in the 30-34 years board race Sullivan said she was delighted with the win with a limited training schedule. 

She won of the first gold medals decided of the championships and later added a second gold in the surf race from Tiarne Smith Northcliffe and Cherie Smith Redhead.

The masters has attracted competitors from all around Australia included legendry R & R man Bob Watkins fro Cottesloe in Western Australia who added to his gold medal collection mastering the waves to win the 65-69 years surf race from Bondi’s Cyril Baldock and Ross Taylor form Thirroul.

Hot on his heels was the winner of the 70+ surf race Ken Cook from Woolgoolga who at 71 celebrated 50 years of Aussies competition with a gold medal swim.

Click here for further information on the DHL 2011 Aussies