Shannon Eckstein’s quest for glory continues this weekend at North Cronulla as he will look to take home his 10th Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series title.
Hot on his tail will be up-and-comer Kendrick Louis who finished on top of the Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series ladder with dominant performances in the final four rounds of competition.
Ali Day will also head into the competition looking to spoil the party for ‘the Professor’ and continue his strong form of late.
Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park star Ben Carberry will be looking to back up his Interstate 2017 Ironman victory and continue his strong form after finishing second in the Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series overall leaderboard.
Wes Berg will also be continuing his remarkable comeback to the sport, finishing 15th in the overall standings after suffering a near career-ending spinal injury.
Here is your definitive guide to all 20 athletes competing in the 2017 Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series:
In pursuit of his 10th professional title, Eckstein set himself up perfectly with round six victory in the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series, moving him into third place overall after missing the two previous rounds.
His form over the past few years has cemented his legacy as the greatest ironman in history, with 2016 bringing in Nutri-Grain Finals and World Championship victories, as well as an eighth Australian Surf Life Saving Championships ironman title.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 5th; Round 2: 4th; Round 3: 4th; Round 4: -; Round 5: -; Round 6: 1st.
Club: Surfers Paradise
The latest king of the Coolangatta Gold will be hunting his second professional title at the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series.
Recovery after winning his fourth Coolangatta Gold title in October ruled him out of the opening rounds of the Summer of Surf series but he showed improving form in the final three rounds, including second place in round five.
The 2015-16 Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series champion grew up on the New South Wales south coast and is one of the most dangerous athletes in the field. He won the Nutri-Grain series in 2014-15 and has also finished second twice.
He is also one of the most popular Ironman competitors, and has all-round skills to challenge in any conditions.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: -; Round 4: 13th; Round 5: 2nd; Round 6: 8th.
Born in Tasmania, Bevilacqua represented Clifton Beach SLSC until he finished school and then moved to Mooloolaba.
Two years later he became the first Tasmanian to qualify for the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals series and is now competing for Kurrawa.
His performances continue to improve, winning the Queensland Ironman title in 2015 and finishing second in the 2016 Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 1st; Round 2: 6th; Round 3: 14th; Round 4: 12th; Round 5: 3rd; Round 6: 12th.
Could this be Matt Poole’s chance to win the Nutri-Grain Ironman Finals? Poole has come close on numerous occasions, placing second in 2011 and third twice.
He has thrived since joining Kurrawa in 2015-16, and his 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series campaign showed plenty of promise.
A former under-17 and under-19 Australian Ironman Champion, Poole can be an unstoppable force on his day, with a powerful swim leg the key to his best performances.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 7th; Round 2: 1st; Round 3: 13th; Round 4: 6th; Round 5: 20th; Round 6: 3rd.
Louis moved from Newport to Manly ahead of the current season and is thriving in the sky blue cap. Looking refreshed by his change of scene, he dominated the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series.
The Nutri-Grain series represents unfinished business for Louis, who was leading the 2011-12 series before suffering a Cruciate Ligament injury that ended his season and nearly his career.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: 1st; Round 4: 2nd; Round 5: 1st; Round 6: 2nd.
The veteran Ironman is back for another crack at the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Seres after contesting in only one round of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series, but is in the deciding round based on his performances in 2015-16.
As a full-time school teacher Smith can’t compete as regularly as he used to, but his competitive instinct remains strong and he can never be discounted, particularly if the North Cronulla break that he knows well throws up some big waves.
Smith won the Australian Ironman Championship in 2005, along with multiple NSW Ironman titles, was a runner-up in the Coolangatta Gold on two occasions and was inducted into the NSW Sports Hall of Champions in 2013.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: 14th; Round 6: -.
Club: Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park
To qualify for the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals at age 37 is an achievement in itself, but that is just the beginning of Wes Berg’s story.
On New Year’s Day 2016, the veteran competitor broke his neck in a surfing accident.
Fortunately he was able to recover from the injury and after a long rehabilitation made his comeback in round four of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain Ironman Qualifying Series.
He did enough in those final three rounds, including seventh place at North Wollongong, to book his place at North Cronulla.
As well as being an outstanding ironman, Berg is also a successful coach and guides the team at Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park, as well as working with professional surfers, including 2012 world champion Joel Parkinson. Married (to Jade) with three young children.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: -; Round 4: 14th; Round 5: 7th; Round 6: 10th.
Furniss qualified for his first Nutri-Grain Finals when he finished on top of the Surf Iron Qualifying Series in February last year and hopes to reach peak form before North Cronulla.
That has meant plenty of work with the Manly LSC coaching team and Ironman veteran Nathan Smith, whose knowledge and experience Furniss has tried to absorb. Like Smith, Furniss is a strong swimmer with a good all-round skill set, and at Aussies 2016 he finished third in the open board race final.
In the final year of his primary school teaching degree course, Furniss says will head to North Cronulla just looking to do his best in his first time competing at the highest level.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 4th; Round 2: 5th; Round 3: 12th; Round 4: 8th; Round 5: -; Round 6: 16th.
Club: Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park
Carberry had his first taste of Nutri-Grain Ironman racing in 2015-16, and this year looks set to become one of the real threats in the finals at North Cronulla.
He finished second in the Summer of Surf Qualifying Series after placing second in the opening round and then winning at Torquay. He says he is aiming for a top-eight finish in the finals but has the ability to finish higher than that.
A product of the prolific Warilla Barrack Point SLSC nursery, Carberry is in his second year under the guidance of Wes Berg at Burleigh Heads and is a former NSW Ironman champion.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 2nd; Round 2: 7th; Round 3: 9th; Round 4: 1st; Round 5: 4th; Round 6: 14th.
Club: Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park
Chasing a fifth year in the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals, Lyndon wasted no time securing his place through the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Qualifying Series – two third placings in the opening two rounds and a fourth-place finish at Torquay ensured he would be heading to North Cronulla.
It was some welcome good news after his recent seasons had been blighted by a seemingly endless run of injuries. Training under Wes Berg for the second year, he has worked his way back to full fitness.
At his best, Lyndon is an elite talent who won Australian Ironman titles at junior level in four consecutive carnivals, and placed second in the 2013 Aussies Open Ironman.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series results: Round 1: 3rd; Round 2: 3rd; Round 3: 8th; Round 4: 4th; Round 5: -; Round 6: -.
Enjoying his second season with the Currumbin Vikings, the reigning Australian open board race champion produced some good results in the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain Ironman Qualifying Series, highlighted by finishing third in round three behind Kendrick Louis and James Lacy.
This will be his third Nutri-Grain series and he is looking to improve on his previous efforts, targeting a top-10 finish and maybe even making it into the top five.
A product of the Warilla Barrack Point club on the NSW south coast (as are Ali Day and Ben Carberry), White placed sixth in the 2016 Coolangatta Gold then took some time off to recover before setting himself for the Nutri-Grain Finals and the 2017 Aussies.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 9th; Round 3: 3rd; Round 4: -; Round 5: 17th; Round 6: 7th.
Collins couldn’t be happier with his performances during the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series that saw him qualify for his first Nutri-Grain Finals in his first year as an Open competitor.
The powerhouse swimmer had two top-10 finishes to ensure his place at North Cronulla and proved he is not out of place alongside the best Ironman athletes.
A Redhead competitor since the under-10s, Collins is also a part-time Exercise Science student at university and an Australian surf lifesaving team representative.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain Ironman Qualifying Series results: Round 1: 18th; Round 2: 8th; Round 3: -; Round 4: 7th; Round 5: 15th; Round 6: -.
After a series of near misses, winning the wildcard entry has given Isak Costello the chance to contest the Nutri-Grain Ironman Finals for the first time.
His best finishes in the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Qualifying Series were 11th placings in round one and round six, and his target for the finals is to try to ensure he requalifies for next year’s series.
A member of the powerful Redhead club from near Newcastle, Costello is a full-time plumber who loves surfing and spending time at the beach even when he isn’t training and competing.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 11th; Round 2: 20th; Round 3: -; Round 4: 16th; Round 5: 12th; Round 6: 11th.
Club: Mermaid Beach
An impressive Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series in 2015-16 earned Cuff his place in this year’s event.
Following stints at Kurrawa and Mooloolaba, Cuff is in his second season at Mermaid Beach, the area of the Gold Coast where he grew up.
The Gold Coast City Council Lifeguard will be looking to improve on his fifth placing in last years finals.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: 6th; Round 4: 3rd; Round 5: -; Round 6: 18th.
The New Zealander is in his third year at Northcliffe and fired up for his second shot at the Nutri-Grain Finals, after finishing 17th last season.
Taylor’s 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain Ironman Qualifying Series produced mixed results, with a best finish of 10th place in round four and 11th in round three.
However, the Bachelor of Business Studies student had better luck when he was part of the world championship-winning New Zealand team that beat the Aussies in The Netherlands last September. While there he placed second in the teams Ironman final and third behind the Eckstein brothers in the individual Ironman world championship.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 15th; Round 2: -; Round 3: 11th; Round 4: 10th; Round 5: -; Round 6: 13th.
Allum is back for his sixth crack at the Nutri-Grain series, and will be hoping to improve on his previous best effort, a fifth placing.
The primary school teacher manages to successfully juggle the demands of full-time employment and competition, training under the guidance of Daniel Neilson at southern Sydney’s Wanda club.
The former NSW Ironman champion did not contest the summer of surf series due to a bad case of glandular fever and then a calf injury. He is now back to full fitness for the Nutri-Grain finals, which will be held on familiar territory for the 27-year-old son of 1979 Australian Ironman champion Greg Allum.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: -; Round 6: -.
Club: Mermaid Beach
Lacy will be making his debut in the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series after an impressive 2016-17 Summer of Surf Qualifying Series, where he finished in seventh place.
After a slow start to the series, Lacy showed strong and consistent form, placing second in round three, fifth in rounds four and five and 6th in the final round at Surfers Paradise.
The lanky athlete, who placed second in the Aussies under-19 Ironman final in 2014, is showing the benefits of working under Mike Janes at Mermaid Beach and has emerged in the past few seasons as a competitor of real promise.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronMan Series results: Round 1: 10th; Round 2: -; Round 3: 2nd; Round 4: 5th; Round 5: 5th; Round 6: 6th.
The lifelong Currumbin representative and sports management worker will be looking to improve on his Nutri-Grain Finals Series best of ninth place last season.
The 2016 World Board Race Championship runner-up had an up and down 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain IronMan Series, and was third in the memorable sprint to the finish that decided the 2013 Australian Ironman Championship.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 9th; Round 2: 13th; Round 3: 5th; Round 4: 17th; Round 5: 10th; Round 6: 5th.
Club: Surfers Paradise
TJ is the first son of former Series winner Trevor senior to qualify for the Nutri-Grain IronMan Finals Series.
The 21-year-old is now in his fifth season of surf lifesaving competition after switching from board riding when he was 17.
His best individual career result was a fourth-place finish in the open board final at the 2016 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
He scored a memorable win in the Board Rescue final at the 2015 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships with his father, who he will complete his final preparations with before arriving in North Cronulla.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 13th; Round 2: 11th; Round 3: 19th; Round 4: 31st; Round 5: 8th; Round 6: -.
Lining up for his second Nutri-Finals Series after pre-qualifying thorough the SIQS where he finished fourth last year and will be better for the experience.
Outstanding member of the rising Newport ranks who have shaken the life out of Surf Sports in recent seasons with the all-round talents of Brooks a shining light. Vital member of the club’s back-to-back Aussies Taplin wins.
Consistent start to the season with an opening round sixth at Alex Headlands before shining on his home beach where he was second, followed by two more top 10s at Fingal (seventh) and North Wollongong (sixth).
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series results: Round 1: 13th; Round 2: 2nd; Round 3: 7th; Round 4: 11th Round 5: 6th; Round 6: 20th