SURF STUDIO: Karla Gilbert and Courtney Hancock
In episode three of Surf Studio three-time Nutri-Grain Ironwoman champion Courtney Hancock sat down with her hero, legendary Ironwoman Karla Gilbert.
Karla Gilbert started surf lifesaving on the Gold Coast at four years old as a Nipper with Palm Beach SLSC and went on to become one of the most famous and decorated Ironwoman of all time.
From the very beginning Karla forged a path for herself and many more to come after her in surf lifesaving, setting her own standards and competing against the boys for a spot at the top.
“I didn’t have the role models that you may have had coming through the sport when I first started surf lifesaving, there was no such thing as ‘ironwoman’,” Karla said to Courtney.
“I was really looking towards the men as role models and for inspiration… to me that was something that I just saw myself doing.
“I came through the ranks of competing against the boys in surf lifesaving as a Nipper and having to make State teams as a Nipper against the guys as well, so to come through the ranks that’s what I had to do.”
Flash forward to 2003, when Karla finished her decorated career that spanned more than a decade with one final Aussies Ironwoman title.
“It was just one of those races, where I was just in the zone that day,” said Gilbert of her final Ironwoman title.
It was also at the 2003 Aussies that a young Courtney Hancock saw Karla Gilbert compete in her final Ironwoman race and it was this moment that Courtney knew she wanted to be an Ironwoman too.
“I actually drove with my dad and my grandfather to come watch you,” said Courtney of watching Karla’s 2003 race.
“I know for many of us out there, that race inspired me to become an Ironwoman.”
Exactly 10 years after Karla won her last Aussies Ironwoman title, Courtney Hancock won her own Aussies Ironwoman title in 2013.
Surf Studio is regular online show with each episode featuring stories from around Australia and covering a range of topics such as sport, lifesaving, leadership, education etc and Surf Life Saving Australia encourages everyone to be involved. If you, or anyone you know has a story that you would like to share via Surf Studio please email email@example.com