Courtesy of Kristin Shorten from the Courier Mail:
NOOSA'S main beach sizzled yesterday when Australia's surf life-saving royalty shared the stretch of sand to launch the 2010/11 Kellogg's Nutri-Grain ironman series.
Beach-goers got more than they bargained for as the country’s most illustrious surf sport athletes –from ironman legends Guy Leech and Trevor Hendy to current champions Zane Holmes and Hayley Bateup – hit the surf for the cameras and crowds.
The five-event series kicks off in Currumbin on November 21 and stops at Bondi, Coolum, Portsea and Noosa.
Australia’s top Ironwoman Alicia Marriott,from Mooloolaba, said she looked forward to competing on the Sunshine Coast.
“It means you can sleep in your own bed and stick to your routine as much as possible,’’ the 24-year-old part-time physiotherapist said.
“It means a lot of the crew from Mooloolaba can come down and support us and hopefully we’ll have a bit of a cheer squad.
“I think this year there’s just a lot more excitement about this series … and I think with that excitement everyone’s going to be racing hard.’’
Friend and fellow competitor Elizabeth Pluimers, 23, from Northcliffe will be breathing down her neck from second spot on the ladder.
“Once it comes to race day everyone understands we’re all out there to win and what happens on the water stays on the water and friendships are put aside,’’ Marriott said.
“But off the beach … we’re all good mates and we catch up and hang out together.’’
Former ironman hero and event partner Guy Leech said the 20-ironman and 20-ironwoman dream teams were part of a new era in surf sport.
“They go faster, their desire and their passion is just as strong as that of Trevor Hendy’s, Grant Kenny’s, myself or anyone,’’ he said.
“When we start talking about abilities, there’s no doubt these guys are unbelievable.’’