Bulli Boys Take on the Kiwis

Excitement is building as the Bulli men’s surfboat crew prepare to head to New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty to go head-to-head with the Piha powerhouse men’s crew in the Trans-Tasman test series this weekend.

The series is held in conjunction with the North Island Championships and the Australian men’s representatives are praying for some big surf when they hit the sand at Waihi Beach. Apparently the Piha boys have it in their heads that Bulli are a good flat-water crew but might be less capable in the surf.

And that’s a furphy that Bulli’s sweep Shane Geloven is keen to see do the rounds.

“Yep I’m more than happy to fly under the radar with that one,” said Geloven. The crew is right at home in big conditions, knocking off everyone at the recent Manly Carnival in six to eight foot plus surf. The crew has been quietly killing it so far this season, looking strong and composed.

The crew of Adam Barlow, Ben Lowe, Heath Mercer and Dean Roberts have been training hard according to their sweep and are keen to bring the series title home. Heath Mercer’s dad Rod also rowed for Australia so being selected to represent at an international level is especially significant for him. They have big shoes to fill however, with the previous two titles having been secured by NSW crews Bilgola and Austinmer. Geloven is quietly confident the title will remain in Aussie hands.

“I’ve been working the boys pretty hard and I’m rapt at how well they are going at the moment,” said Geloven.

None of the Illawarra-based rowers have ever visited New Zealand, although they have raced the Piha crews here in Australia. They will also be using mostly borrowed equipment – a surfboat and oars, to save time and transport costs.

The race plan, according to the crew, is simple. Race hard. “We’re really looking forward to the battle. We are definitely there to win,” said Geloven.

The Trans-Tasman series format consists of a mixture of long and short course races, with both wet and dry finishes. The mighty Tugun Hunters from the Gold Coast will be representing Australia in the Open Women’s division.

Photo: Action from the 2014 North Island Surf Boat Championships. Credit Jamie Troughton / Dscribe Media Services

Wed 4 Feb 2015