Trigg Island’s Will Savage produced a well-timed finish to turn himself into a hometown hero by winning the under-15 Ironman title at the 2018 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Scarborough.
Savage, who won the under-14 ironman at North Kirra last year, came from behind to beat Wanda’s Riley Dixon in a desperate sprint to the finish.
Currumbin’s Beau Meehan was third.
Competing just 1.5km down the sand from his home beach, Savage gave himself a shot at victory with a determined swim leg that cut into a handy lead Dixon had created in the opening board leg.
Dixon was still in the lead as the pair made it to the beach but step by step down the finishing straight Savage pulled level and then into the lead.
“This is so good, it’s absolutely amazing,” Savage said.
“Since last year my swim has got a whole lot better and my board has improved too. I think I’m a lot better Ironman now.”
The under-15 Ironwoman title was won in emphatic fashion by Alexandra Headland’s Tayla Halliday ahead of Sunshine Beach’s Sarah Perkins and Newport’s Alex Lefevre.
Halliday, who earlier won gold in the under-15 surf race, broke away from the start of the board leg but rival Piper Harrison caught a wave to the beach that gave her a five-metre lead.
Using her swimming power, Harrison clawed her way back to the lead and was unchallenged in the run up the beach.
“I’m going to have a few chocolates and eat a lot,” Halliday answered when asked how she would celebrate.
“To win that race means so much to me because of all the hard work that I have done this season, it shows that it is worth it.
“I knew that if I wanted to win I was going to have to go so hard and try to get out in front and then if I was in front I would have to hold it.”
Cudgen Headland’s Lily O’Sullivan was one of the big stars of the first day of the Aussies 2018 carnival, claiming three gold medals in the under-14 age group.
O’Sullivan won the surf race and board race before completing her hat-trick as she won an agonising run to the finish just ahead Newport’s Jodie Louw, with Abbie Tolano (Sunshine Beach) third.
“I had absolutely nothing left,” the winner said after a day of racing in tough and chilly conditions.
The under-14 Ironman crown went to Newport’s Joel Piper, who outsprinted Currumbin pair Zach King and Hugh Munro. Piper earlier won the board race, while King was victorious in the surf race and came up with the quote of the day in his post-race interview.
“When I came to Currumbin I was just some potato from Maroochydore and now I’m winning the Aussies surf race,” he said.
The Youth Championships continue on Sunday.