Club bragging rights mastered in Aussies team events
The Masters team events were the focus on day four of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Gold Coast, with competitors giving everything to ensure club bragging rights at the end of the day.
Northcliffe trio Kristyl Smith, Tiarne Smith and Lee Vrolyks secured three gold medals in the Taplin, Ski and Board relays for the 110 group division, to cap off the final day of masters competition at the Aussies. Kristyl and Vrolyks also took gold in the Board Rescue and Double Ski.
Heading into the favourite event amongst all Clubs, the Taplin Relay, the trio were tipped to win and delivered a solid gold medal performance in testing conditions.
Kristyl led the team out in the swim with North Burleigh hot on her heels.
“I got a bit of pressure put on at the start, it was a great swim from the North Burleigh girls.”
“It’s really tricky out there, you really have to get down to the bottom of the ocean and hold on. I just wanted to get a bit of a lead and that’s what I was able to do,” said Smith.
Tagging her sister Tiarne, the next Smith in the race managed to deliver a solid board paddle and put the team in front leading into the all important ski leg.
Vrolyks’ years of experience proved all the difference, navigating the surf conditions beautifully. As she turned for home she managed to jag a nice wave, her strong lead giving her the confidence to take it on.
“Going into the ski I was a little bit nervous because it’s the most dangerous leg of a Taplin you can easily lose your lead or lose your ski, I was just happy Tiarne gave me a good lead in to it.
“We had a pretty good lead so I just thought I’d take on that wave,” said Vrolyks.
The gamble paid off, adding another gold medal to the trophy cabinet.
Favourites deliver for Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park
With decades of experience competing in the national ironman series, a team comprising of Zane Holmes, Phil Clayton and Wes Berg were pegged early to finish on top of the podium in the hotly contested 110 years Men’s Taplin Relay. And boy did they deliver!
It was a star-studded line up in the final when you looked across the start of the swim alone, Clayton was among good company including former Australian Ironman Champion Nathan Smith, Australian Belt Champion Simon Nothling as well as former AFL star Kurt Tippet.
Clayton welcomed all the greats to be taking part in a sport he’s so passionate about.
“It’s a sport that no matter where you come from no matter what you do it’s one that you can jump in and have a swim with your friends.
“To see all the different athletes from different sports here today… it was fantastic,” he said.
It was Nathan Smith who was first out of the water after the swim leg, with Clayton in a comfortable fourth place to put Berg within striking distance.
Berg delivered a sensational paddle to hunt down the leaders and power home to shore to put the team in first place narrowly ahead of Redhead.
It all came down to former Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan Champion Zane Holmes to paddle his team to gold.
As Holmes rounded the apex for shore, he worked hard to pick up a wave which he managed to jag and extend BHMP lead to take the gold.
“It was like I ordered it, perfect time. Straight around the can, made sure no one else got it and just got around that green and yellow as well,” said Holmes.
One day didn’t matter for Swansea Belmont ski paddlers
Matthew Rees, Ryan Cook and Nathan Croal missed out on competing in the 120 year category at the Aussies by one day. Their combined age of 119 years and 364 days didn’t slow them down though, as they were triumphant in a classy 110 year ski relay.
“We thought we were too old for it,” Croal said. With Rees giving him the credit for setting up the win on the first leg.
“It wasn’t until after the second leg (Rees) that we thought we were in with a show,” Cook, who was going head to head with North Bondi for the title in the last leg, said.
“I was a bit nervy. I just went the right way on the way out I think and it worked out well,” a humble Cook said.
This was the first Australian title that the Swansea Belmont boys had won together. Rees won the 45-49 single ski title on Monday, while Cook and Rees were fifth in the double ski.
There was great Surf Boat action including a joint gold medal awarded>> click here.
Complete results from the Australian Masters Championships here>> click here.