Pressure intensifies as Aussies finals loom and medals up for grabs
It was a high pressure day on the beach and in the surf with medals on offer and finals spots up for grabs at the 2019 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
Avoca Olympians Riley Fitzsimmons and Lachlan Tame combined with Peter Mitchell to win the Surf Ski Relay final. It was Tame who led the team out and set Avoca up with a strong early lead.
“It’s not the luck, it’s what you create in the race,” Tame said.
“I had a dream run and couldn’t fault it, I got a wave at the middle can and happy days.”
The waters opened up for Mitchell to extend the lead early in the second leg. Jackson Maynard from Currumbin put in a huge effort to move Currumbin into a clear second place but Mitchell held the lead to set Fitzsimmons up nicely leading into the final stretch.
It became a two-person race with Hayden White from Currumbin closing the gap in the opening half of the last leg.
Fitzsimmons picked up a wave and like his two partners had done previously, pulled off the wave just prior to the wave reforming on the bank.
White had no choice but to take a risk in taking a wave that would have brought him level to Fitzsimmons but unfortunately he lost control of his ski allowing Avoca to claim a well-deserved victory.
It was a thrilling finish for second with Newport beating Currumbin in a dash across the line with Currumbin having to settle for the Bronze.
The Currumbin team of Joel Engel, David Long, Jacob Loughnan and Luther Maxwell held off Maroochydore and Elouera to win the Under 19 Male Rescue Tube Rescue.
The Open male event was won by Northcliffe’s Bailey Armstrong, Callum Breetzke, Nicholas Rodger and Toby Wilson, who overcame a close contest from second placed Surfers Paradise and third placed North Bondi.
Not since 1937 has North Bondi won the Open Surf Belt but Kazimir Boskovic combined with the team to break an 82-year drought to defeat Kurrawa and Shelly Beach.
Matthew Palmer together with his Maroochydore team mates won the U19 Surf Belt race from Elouera and Cronulla. Maroochydore’s U19 male surf belt team of John Baxter, Hayden Cotter, Jae Marr, Matthew Palmer and Daniel Short, won from Elouera who finished ahead of neighbouring club Cronulla.
In the Ironman events, Northcliffe brothers Shannon and Caine Eckstein are on track for a historic result after each brother won their respective Ironman semi finals on Friday. The men’s semi finals tested the best of the best, including the 2019 Nutri Grain Ironman champion Ali Day, who sneaks into Sunday’s final after he finished eighth in his semi final.
Day is also the reining Coolangatta Gold champion and will be aiming for a rare treble on Sunday.
At North Kirra, Olympian Alyssa Bull partnered with Lucinda Kelly to win gold in the in the Open Women Double Ski. The pair were able to pull off the win without training for it.
“I live on the Gold Coast and Lou’s on the Sunshine Coast, so great we could put it together on the day,” Bull said.
“Got on, punched through a few of those shore dumps… our goal was to get out that back verse and get that good inside turn on the can. We had to work hard, I could feel Lou pushing me.”
After getting off to a tricky start, Wanda’s Georgia Sinclair and Emily Eaves powered home to claim a national gold medal in the U19 Female Double Ski, adding to their recent New South Wales title.
In a close finish, the duo was able to navigate the some-what tough conditions to edge ahead of Northcliffe and Maroochydore.
The combination of Alexandra Clarke, Tiarnee Massie and Dominque from Maroochydore delivered an impressive performance to claim gold in the U19 Female Board Relay ahead of Redhead and Manly.
While the trio lead throughout the entire race, the final board leg produced a thrilling finish, with the top three leaders all jagging a wave as they head for the shore.
But it was Maroochydore who were able to milk the wave and get a better line to the beach, sprinting home to cross the line in first and take home the gold.
In the Ironwoman quarter finals saw defending champion Lana Rogers finish second in her heat with Courtney Hancock, Georgia Miller, Maddy Dunn and Emma Dick also advancing to the semi finals.
New South Wales clubs dominated junior surf boat events with Newport taking out gold in the U23 Men’s, South Curl Curl winning the U19 women and the young guns from North Cronulla winning the U19 men’s event.
For full results… click here.