Three-time winner Ali Day and 2011 women’s champion Courtney Hancock will headline this year’s 2016 Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold on October 15 and 16.
Day will be out to peg one back on Gold’s greatest winner Caine Eckstein, a five-time champion of Australian Surf Life Saving’s iconic endurance Ironman race – first contested in 1984.
Hancock, who has just returned from the World Life Saving Championships in the Netherlands, is also a six-time medallist, winning the Gold five years ago as well as finishing runner-up on three occasions (2010, 2012 and 2013) and third in 2009.
In the men’s race, Day, the defending champion and 2012 and 2013 winner will again be the man to beat in a field that will also include Manly’s ageless warrior Nathan Smith – a bridesmaid on three occasions in 2006 to Zane Holmes, 2011 to Eckstein and last year to Day.
Smith, who will be joined by 2014 Short Course winner Kendrick Louis, now also at Manly, finished third to Ecksteiin in 2008 and 2009.
Day will also have fellow Surfers Paradise cub mates, 2015 Open Short Course winner Nathan Gray as well as Pierre Tapper and Luke Chapman in a race for the ages.
But it could well be one of his oldest mates, Currumbin’s Australian open board champion Hayden White, who will try and set the pace on the ski who will be one to watch.
Day and White go back to their “Nippers days” at Warilla Barrack Point on the NSW South Coast, before linking up and winning Australian titles together at Mooloolaba before both heading to the Gold Coast last year.
And White will have former Coolangatta Gold winner and Day’ former coach, Michael King in his corner this year.
King, who won the Gold in 1991, has coached three open males winners in Rhys Drury (2007), Day and Josh Minogue in 2014
Day certainly rates White as a major threat.
“One hundred percent…I knew he would always be a contender from the day we started racing together and winning Australian titles together and its awesome that we are still the best of friends,” said Day.
“He will definitely be one to watch on the day; he’s got an extremely lethal ski leg and swim board and run.”
Day says there is no secret to winning the Gold..just plain hard work.
“Hard work and discipline; you’ve got to do the work at the end of the the day and if you don’t do the work then you cant expect to do well,” said Day.
“I’ve done a lot of back-to-back work this year; a lot of swim to board; swim to run and swim to gym.
“It’s important to get my body into what the race will be like; you can train for the race as much a you like and try and replicate but it’s never the same on the day.
“I have also incorporated a fair bit gym which has really helped me;.it has been a really good off-season and I’m looking forward to three weeks.”
Hancock knows what it takes to win the Gold but admits she is only just getting over the jet lag from her return flight from the World Championships.
“I have been walking the floors and waking up in the middle of the night and I’m still getting back into the time zone,” said Hancock.
“But I am looking forward to getting into the swing of things and putting the finishing touches to my preparation.”
Entries have not yet been finalised but one youngster stepping up to the women’s long course his year will be 2015 Under 19 short course winner, Hancock’s, Northcliffe club mate Grace Rosato.
“It was a huge thrill to win the Under 19 race last year – I really enjoy the endurance side of the sport and I thought I would step up to long course this season; I can’t wait,” said Rosato.
The Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold is one of the most challenging endurance races in surf sports. What began as the central theme for a motion picture more than 30 years ago, has now commanded a place on Australia’s calendar of prestigious sporting events. The iconic event will return to the Gold Coast in 2016 over the weekend of October 15th and 16th. It is open to the public and consists of a 32.4 km Short Course and a 41.8 km Long Course race. The multi-disciplinary course combines swimming, running, board paddling and surf skiing.
The 16th running of the Coolangatta Gold will attract endurance surf athletes from all over the world to compete in one of the most challenging surf sport races in the world and test themselves alongside some of Australia’s greatest sporting figures.
From its inauguration in 1984, when Guy Leech was crowned victor, the Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold event now attracts over 500 competitors across the Short Course, Teams and Masters categories, and those in the Long Course hoping to take home the coveted Gold title.
The Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold 2016 again sees the inclusion of the Youth Challenge event, which contributes to the overall event through encouraging the next generation of surf sports competitors to begin to make their mark from the age of 10, which is included in the following key dates for this year’s event:
Saturday, October 15th 2016: Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold Short Course categories
Sunday, October 16th 2016 : Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold Long Course categories Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold Youth Challenge
All events start and finish at Coolangatta Beach, Gold Coast QLD.
Courses cover much of the Gold Coast with the ski leg as far north as Broadbeach with major transitions at Burleigh Beach (minor transition sites at Miami & Currumbin Creek).