With reigning champion Jordy Mercer out of the competition, the Nutri-Grain IronWoman Finals Series is wide open this weekend at North Cronulla.
On the comeback trail and peaking just at the right time is Courtney Hancock, who started her 2017 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series campaign slowly before picking up a third and a second in the final two rounds.
Reigning Australian Ironwoman Champion Rebecca Creedy finished in first place for the 2017 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series and will be looking to hold that form over this weekend.
Young gun Lizzie Welborn will be hoping to go one better than her second place finish in the 2017 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series, and back up her round six win where she pipped Hancock on the final wave at Surfers Paradise. Here is your ultimate form guide.
Reigning Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series Champion Rebecca Creedy finished one point ahead of Lizzie Welborn after six rounds of competition, racing to victory in rounds one and three.
The current Australian Ironwoman Champion also received gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and is consistently a leading swimmer in the Ironwoman field.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 1st; Round 2: 6th; Round 3: 1st; Round 4: 18th; Round 5: -; Round 6: 4th.
After wining her second Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold Hancock started the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series slowly, only regaining her form in the last two rounds.
She will be hoping to cement her fourth Nutri-Grain IronWoman Finals Series title, and is the only competitor to win the historic surf sports triple crown after victories in the 2011 Australian Lifesaving Championships, Nutri-Grain IronWoman Finals Series and Coolangatta Gold.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 17th; Round 3: 15th; Round 4: 8th; Round 5: 3rd; Round 6: 2nd.
Club: Surfers Paradise
Higgison was a surprise packet of the 2015/16 Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series, placing second behind Jordan Mercer after winning three rounds.
After a phone call from Ironman legend Trevor Hendy, Higgison moved to Surfers Paradise this season as she tried to recover full health and the competitive fire that impressed so many last year.
A product of Nowra/Culburra SLSC on the NSW South Coast, Higgison’s mother, Karen, won a Silver medal in the 200m butterfly at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 7th; Round 2 -; Round 3: 18th; Round 4: 15th; Round 5: -; Round 6: -.
Miller’s Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironman Series was wrecked by a dose of appendicitis that hit in mid-December. She made her comeback in round six at Surfers Paradise but was not in her best form.
When at her best, Miller is one of the stars of surf lifesaving, already having won an impressive collection of Australian Lifesaving Championship gold medals, including three Open Surf race titles and being named female competitor of the 2015 carnival.
In last year’s Nutri-Grain series, she won a round for the first time at Newcastle and placed fourth overall.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 12th; Round 2: -; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: -; Round 6: 18th.
Club: North Bondi
Welborn confirmed her status as a rising star of surf lifesaving after winning round six of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain IronWoman Qualifying Series at Surfers Paradis.
She finished second on the Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series pointscore, just one point behind winner Rebecca Creedy.
The gun board paddler arrived on the scene with a bang at the 2015 Australian Life Saving Championships when she won four gold medals in under 17 competition and took out silver medal in the Open board race.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 10th; Round 3: 2nd; Round 4: 21st; Round 5: 4th; Round 6: 1st.
Brown is one of the most consistent athletes and strongest swimmers in the series.
She raced in five rounds during the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series finishing in the top 10 each time, with a first place at Newport Beach.
Last September achieved the biggest feat of her career, winning the World Ironwoman Title in The Netherlands.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 4th; Round 2: 1st; Round 3: 8th; Round 4: 4th; Round 5: -; Round 6: 6th.
Nurthen was a consistent performer throughout the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series, with three top 10 placings.
Originally from Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast, her and older sister Amy moved to the Sunshine Coast to train under Michael King before following him to Currumbin in 2015.
A powerful board and ski paddler, Karlee placed in the finals of both open events at the 2016 Australian Lifesavig Championships and was the under-19 Ironwoman runner-up at Aussies 2015.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 9th; Round 2: 9th; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: -; Round 6: 7th.
The breakout star of 2016 Australian Lifesaving Championships, Smith was named female competitor of the carnival after winning an amazing six gold medals – four in under-17s, one in under-19s and the Open champion lifesaver title. She also placed third in the Open Ironwoman final.
Her performances during the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series have also been impressive and she scored her first victory at North Wollongong in round five.
Smith captained Australia’s youth team at the World Titles in The Netherlands in 2016 and was named youth athlete of the year at the Surf Life Saving Australia national awards of excellence.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 10th; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: 1st; Round 6: 8th.
A consistent 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series for Coleman was highlighted with a second place finish in round four at Torquay.
She moved to Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club this season to train under coach Michael King, and her results show the move is paying off.
Keep an eye out for Coleman’s distinctive red and green craft, a show of support for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, where her father Craig was a club legend.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 11th; Round 2: 7th; Round 3: 17th; Round 4: 2nd; Round 5: 14th; Round 6: 11th.
An experienced competitor who has had strong results during the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series, including a second placing behind Jemma Smith at North Wollongong.
She made the leap to Currumbin with her sister Karlee last season to continue working with coach Michael King, who has guided her career over a number of years.
Nurthen won her first Ironwoman series race back in 2011 when she emerged from wild surf at Portsea in Victoria to take a dramatic victory.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: 8th; Round 2: 8th; Round 3: 19th; Round 4: -; Round 5: 2nd; Round 6: 10th.
The two-time Australian Ironwoman champion has been enjoying a revival during the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain IronWoman Qualifying Series.
It is now 12 years since her first Australian Ironwoman title in 2005, but Smith’s amazing skills and competitive drive are keeping her near the top of the sport and make her a real danger in the finals at North Cronulla, close to where she grew up.
After finishing as runner-up numerous times, the Nutri-Grain IronWoman Finals Series title is the missing piece in Smith’s illustrious career and no one would complain if she finally claimed the title in 2017.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: -; Round 3: 5th; Round 4: 6th; Round 5: 5th; Round 6: 3rd.
A fifth placing in round six of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series shows Dunn’s form is heading in the right direction ahead of the Nutri-Grain IronWoman Finals Series.
The 22-year-old, who is being coached by former Australian Ironwoman champion Naomi Flood, has a good track record in previous Nutri-Grain series, winning rounds in 2013 and 2014, and placing fifth last year. Two of the athletes who finished ahead of her last year won’t be competing, increasing her chances of challenging for the title.
Dunn will be among the athletes hoping the weather gods turn on tough conditions for the Nutri-Grain Finals at North Cronulla – both her previous wins in the series came in big and challenging surf, something she says she thrives on.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 19th; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: 17th; Round 6: 5th.
The New Zealand representative is heading into her third Nutri-Grain series on the back of an impressive qualifying campaign that included a fifth-place finish in round four at Torquay.
Under the guidance of Olympic kayaker Naomi Flood and in her third season at Northcliffe, McKenzie continues to improve her results, that last year saw her finish 13th in the Nutri-Grain series and win the single ski world championship in The Netherlands.
Away from the surf, McKenzie is a full-time university student studying a double major in Exercise Science and Sports Management, and is currently doing 200 placement hours with the Southport Sharks AFL club.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 16th; Round 3: -; Round 4: 5th; Round 5: 11th; Round 6: 15th..
Heading into her second Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Finals Series, Brown will be hoping she has finally overcome a troublesome pectoral muscle tear that has caused her problems this season.
The injury put her out of all but the opening round of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Qualifying Series and has required nearly four months of rehabilitation under the guidance of Maroochydore SLSC coach Nathan Greig.
Brown, the first indigenous Ironwoman to contest the Nutri-Grain Series, had her best result in 2015-16 when she placed second behind Georgia Miller in the round at Newcastle.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: 18th; Round 2: -; Round 3: -; Round 4: -; Round 5: -; Round 6: -.
Club: Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park
Qualifying for the Nutri-Grain Finals represents an important step for Dick after recovering from an 18-month battle with chronic fatigue syndrome.
The illness now seems to be behind her, as shown by her strong results throughout the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Qualifying Series, including a sixth placing in round one, finishing third in round three and seventh in round five.
Dick is part of the strong team led by Wes Berg at Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park and looks on the way back to the type of form that saw her win both the under-19 Ironwoman and surf race gold medals at the Aussies in 2013.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: 6th; Round 2: 12th; Round 3: 3rd; Round 4: -; Round 5: 7th; Round 6: 19th.
Birthday presents don’t come much better than confirming a place in your first Nutri-Grain Finals, but Scott made sure of her position in the big event by placing ninth in round six of the Summer of Surf Qualifying Series just two days after her 17th birthday.
The Manly youngster’s efforts in the early Summer of Surf rounds – fifth in round one and third in round two – were a great start to her campaign, which saw her finish outside the top 10 only once.
A powerful swimmer, Scott made the final of the Open Ironwoman at Aussies 2016 as a 16-year-old, and has been working hard on her craft this season with coaches Nick Dawe (ski) and Mitch Roberts (board). The results show she is one of the sport’s brightest rising stars.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: 5th; Round 2: 3rd; Round 3: 10th; Round 4: 25th; Round 5: 9th; Round 6: 9th.
Puskaric will be making her debut in the Nutri-Grain Finals after solid performances throughout the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Qualifying Series. Her best efforts were a fifth placing in round two and finishing sixth in round three.
Those were the 21-year-old’s best Ironwoman results, and she is showing the benefit of the work she has been doing with coaches Craig Stevens (swimming) and Mitch Roberts (surf), as well as Ironman veteran and clubmate Nathan Smith.
A six-time Australian junior champion, Puskaric is in her third season with Manly, and works as a primary school teacher and casual lifeguard.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Qualifying Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 5th; Round 3: 6th; Round 4: 10th; Round 5: 20th; Round 6: 12th.
A relative newcomer to the surf lifesaving ranks, Spencer surprised plenty of people when she placed second in round two of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Qualifying Series and then won her place in the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Finals.
It is a big achievement for the 20-year-old in her second season at Newport and only her third in surf lifesaving. Before that, she was a representative water polo player but she decided to move to surf lifesaving when it became apparent that she probably wasn’t big enough to play top-level water polo.
Spencer is clearly a quick learner, having claimed an Aussies gold medal in 2016 in the open board relay alongside one of her rivals in the Nutri-Grain Finals, Georgia Miller.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: -; Round 2: 2nd; Round 3: -; Round 4: 11th; Round 5: 8th; Round 6: 14th.
Club: North Burleigh
Originally from Carlton Park SLSC in Tasmania, Britton was looking for a change of lifestyle when she moved to North Burleigh, where she is in her third season, and things couldn’t be going better.
She started the season with an impressive second place behind Courtney Hancock in the Coolangatta Gold, and then took out round four of the 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Qualifying Series at Torquay.
Britton was shattered to miss out on automatically qualifying for the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Finals but had the smile back on her face when she won the wildcard spot. A natural endurance athlete, she hopes the long races over three days in the Nutri-Grain Finals will work to her advantage.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: 14th; Round 2: -; Round 3: 21st; Round 4: 1st; Round 5: 13th; Round 6 -.
Club: North Burleigh
Cooper and her coach Dan Carruthers were following a three-year plan to get the teenager to the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Finals, but a late call-up because of the withdrawal of Lana Rogers means they have reached their goal early.
The youngster’s 2016-17 Summer of Surf Sports Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Qualifying Series was highlighted by a fourth-place result in round three at Fingal Bay, and now she has made the finals she says she has nothing to lose when she takes on the big guns at North Cronulla.
Earlier in the season, Cooper finished third in the under-19 short course Coolangatta Gold, while at Aussies 2016 she placed fifth in the under-17 Ironwoman final, a race from which four rising stars have progressed to the Nutri-Grain Finals – Cooper, Lizzie Welborn, Jemma Smith and Naomi Scott.
2016-17 Summer of Surf Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series results: Round 1: 17th; Round 2: 21st; Round 3: 4th; Round 4: 22nd; Round 5: 10th; Round 6 -.