Ky Hurst has long been the king of Kurrawa at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships but today his crown stayed safely on his head at North Kirra.
The Aussies were moved south from Kurrawa to North Kirra in the wake of Wednesday’s tragic death of 14-year-old Maroochydore competitor Matt Barclay but the change of venue did not alter Hurst’s dominance in surf swimming.
Hurst showed he is right on target to win his eighth open surf race title tomorrow when he powered away to win the restricted (over 24 years) surf race championship.
Already selected for Australia’s London Olympic team in open water swimming, Hurst beat home Mooloolaba’s Josh Minogue and Northcliffe’s Shannon Eckstein to claim his 28th Aussies gold medal.
Hurst, Minogue and Eckstein led the bunch turning the cans with Hurst and Minogue catching a wave and Hurst first to stand and proving unbeatable up the beach.
“The restricted is for the old boys and encourages them to race and stay in the sport but really all my competitors are older than 24 anyway with only a few exceptions,” said Hurst.
“The majority of this field will be in the open surf race so it will be hard again.
“I haven’t been doing a lot of swimming and have just stepped up my training in the last few weeks because I have been busy all season with ironman races and I’m keeping in mind I have the Olympics coming up.”
Hurst was second in the Australian ironman championship last season and the open surf title is the only championship he is defending.
The open ski race field at the Aussies is studded with Olympic representatives and kayaking gold medallists Clint Robinson (K1 1000 in 1992) and Ken Wallace (K1 500 in 2008) went head to head in their second round heat today.
The powerhouse pair pulled away from their rivals and looked set to progress safely to the next round until Wallace slewed off a small wave and his ski turned sideways.
Robinson finished a clear winner but Wallace found himself in a desperate battle to survive.
He eventually needed a stroke of luck to finish in equal sixth place and make it through to the third round.
Beach relays were the focus of action on the sand with Collaroy winning the open men’s race from North Cottesloe and Grange, and Kurrawa winning the open women’s from Cronulla and City of Perth.
City of Perth won the under-19 women’s relay and Cronulla took out the women’s under-17 and under-15 races, while Currumbin Beach won out the under-15 men’s
In R&R competition, Freshwater won gold in the men’s five-person and North Cronulla won the women’s event. Collaroy won the six-person R&R from Wanda and Freshwater.
Northcliffe leads the club pointscore after two days of the championships on 64 points, ahead of North Cronulla 57, Manly 34, Wanda 34, Alexandra Headland 33, Maroochydore 32, Collaroy 28, Freshwater 27, Sunshine Beach 27 and Terrigal 26.
The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships continue at North Kirra tomorrow and will conclude on Sunday.
For information about the 2012 Aussies click here.