Northern beaches clubs take out iron double

Sydney’s dominant Manly and Newport Surf Life Saving clubs capped off a stellar long weekend at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championship when Nathan Smith and Georgia Miller gold-medalled in the premier Open Ironman and Ironwoman events.

“That might do me,” said Smith, the 34 year-old newly crowned Ironman catching his breath after taking out his seventh and likely last state open championship title, this time over Newport’s Kendrick Louis and Terrigal’s Jack Moyes.

“I knew from watching the women’s iron event that I had to be strong heading out and make the most of any runners coming back in. My guts were churning. I’m probably not the fastest but I got through without making too many mistakes. I showed that a wise head out there was more crucial than straight line speed.

“I said before the race if I got this one that would be it for me.” On retiring from state competition Smith acknowledged his mum, dad and aunty who were on the beach witnessing and celebrating his triumph over much younger placegetters, and his wife and daughters supporting him back at home.

Georgia Miller won the u19 and Open ironwoman last year for Manly. This year she repeated the results wearing new club colours. “I’m so stoked with that win,” Miller said, “all the hard work has paid off.”

Following her u19 iron win, her 21st event since Friday, a beaming Miller admitted she was “buggered” from three days of competition, but really enjoying racing for Newport. She finished the Carnival with a staggering 11 gold medals, and an even bigger smile than usual.

Terrigal’s Joanna Baxter led the swim leg but by the board leg Miller was powering through the chop into the headwind in first place, Baxter chasing. The pair caught the same wave to the beach for a sprint finish, when Miller found something extra. It’s an exciting time for the Newport athlete who realised a dream when she qualified for the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain series this year.

Smith is a former KNG competitor showing he can still give the young blokes a licking and Miller is starting off down the same path. On finals day the two Sydney northern beaches athletes at opposite ends of the spectrum united in victory.

Conditions at Umina-Ocean Beach on the NSW Central Coast for finals day were horrendous. Gusty cold 25 plus knot southerly winds and rain squalls blew straight onto the competition areas turning umbrellas inside out and sending athletes scurrying under tents.

Paddlers and swimmers had to fight hard to see and reach the turning cans but once they turned the corner the wind and wind-generated waves rewarded their efforts with assisted rides back to the beach.

Many of the 2,500 athletes at the NSW state title used the Carnival as valuable competition practice for the upcoming Aussies, scheduled for April 11-19 at North Kirra Beach in Queensland.

Umina-Ocean beach will also host the 2016 NSW Surf Life Saving Championship.

Sun 15 Mar 2015