Surf boat rowing’s Trans-Tasman rivalry will resume this Saturday 17 February at Elouera Beach, NSW, with wild conditions expected as the Australian Surf Boat Team looks to pick up their sixth win in a row over New Zealand Oar Blacks.
The shores of Sutherland Shire will welcome surf boat crews from Australia and New Zealand this weekend, representing their countries in an action-packed, three test series of racing.
An all NSW contingent don the Australian blazers this year, led by home-crew Elouera in the Open Womens and South Curl Curl in the Open Mens.
Surf Sports veteran Grant Wilkinson will sweep the Elouera Open Women’s crew as they look to uphold the Australian Surf Boat Teams undefeated streak against New Zealand.
Wilkinson said the home beach advantage holds strange implications.
“In a strange way it’s both a help and a hindrance, in one way it’s the beach we train at every session and we’ve got everything set up there, but the hard thing is that it can also be a distraction because you’ve got all your friends and family and everyone wanting to wish you the best”, he said.
Wilkinson said being named as the Australian Surf Boat Team was an emotional moment for his crew.
“It was a pretty emotional day for a number of reasons, a couple of days before my brother had passed away and I hadn’t told the girls¦ I knew they were capable of being selected and I didn’t want them getting distracted or worrying about what I was going through” he said.
“One of our team members came back from career ending double hamstring surgery and she fought back as a 46-year-old rower to represent Australia for the first time.
“To do something like that is emotional no matter who you are… it was emotional, but all good emotions.”
South Curl Curl Open Men’s sweep Rob Lowery also said their selection as the Australian Surf Boat Team was surrounded by emotion.
“It’s an interesting thing, we had a tough time at South Curl Curl, we lost one of our young rowers the week before the Australian selection, so to say we lost focus is an understatement he said.
We kind of just went there [Australian Surf Boat Team selection trials] because to do something is better than to do nothing, and as a result of that we seemed to row with a real calmness.
“One of our rowers has been an Australian Surf Boat Team member before, and he told us by the time we get to it we’ll be really up for it.
“We are going to throw everything at this one, we are programmed for it. If the Kiwis beat us, they’ll be a very good boat crew and will deserve all the respect they get.”
In the Australian Pathway under 23’s competition, the Avalon Beach and North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club’s will field crews for the second time in three years.
North Cronulla’s Under 23’s male crew are as strong as ever looking for a victory in their second year of Trans-Tasman competition.
After fielding a male crew in 2016, Avalon Beach has shown its depth in surf boat rowing by securing the women’s representative crew in the Under 23 competition.
Trans-Tasman Test Racing will kick off from 10:00am this Saturday 17 February, with the official opening ceremony at 9:30am. All the action will be at Elouera Beach and live via ASRL online and on Facebook.
Australian Surf Boat Team 2018
|Michael||Egan||South Curl Curl|
|Christopher||Hughes||South Curl Curl|
|Trent||Rogers||South Curl Curl|
|Jordan||Thurlow||South Curl Curl|
|Rob||Lowery||South Curl Curl|
Team Manager: Greg Heard
Australian U23 Pathway Surf Boat Team 2018
Team Manager: Ian Martin