Queenscliff SLSC’s Michael Gedz and Bondi SBLSC’s Dori Miller have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to surf sports, inducted into the SLSA Hall of Fame as Masters Legends.
The pair were formally announced during a special ceremony at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Gold Coast on Tuesday 5 April, at the conclusion of the 29th Masters Championships – first held at Aussies in 1993 and not running in 2020.
The award recognises Masters competitors, individuals or teams, over the age of 35 years who have achieved exceptional results over a sustained period in designated Masters competition and have done so in events and Masters age categories that have had a high level of competitiveness.
Michael said the recognition was better than anything he’d received in the past.
“It’s the best award I’ve ever had, it beats everything,” he said.
“I’m humbled, I’ve been on cloud nine since they rang me – it’s overwhelming.”
Since commencing Masters competition in 1997, Michael has been a prolific winner in the Beach events arena.
Overall, he has won 32 gold medals and 13 other podium finishes, with 16 of these golds being first placings in either Beach Sprint or Beach Flags. In the last 10 Championships alone, he has won his age group in the Beach Sprint nine times.
At World Lifesaving Championship level since 1998 (35-39 years) he has been successful in winning 10 individual gold medals at six world championships including four other podium finishes.
Dori, meanwhile, commenced Masters competition in 2011 – winning the 40-44 Female Surf Race. Since then, she has been undefeated in each of her age categories for that event; winning 11 consecutive Surf Race titles. At the past three Championships, Dori has won 18 gold medals, including three consecutive Ocean Swim wins.
Dori has also excelled in Australian Masters Pool competition, winning various events since 2011 including at the World Lifesaving Championships. At the 2018 Worlds in Adelaide, she had seven first placings and two other podium finishes.
“I came to Australia in 2009, joined the surf club a year later and did my Bronze in 2010,” she said.
“A lot of it is I like to keep fit. I like to swim, I need to swim just to basically stay sane.
“Sometimes I set goals, whether it’s a particular race or something longer, but beyond that is having teammates and friends who do it with you.”
Masters competitors play an integral part in the sport arena, through their dedication to Surf Life Saving and competitiveness and fitness to maintain a healthy lifestyle and play a key role within their clubs.
It’s those structures that both reflect on as crucial reasons for their love of surf sports.
“You have to find something you love to do,” Dori said.
“When you’re younger you don’t think long term but having something that you’re good at that you enjoy to do, that can carry you through later in life.”
“The club, the support, the sport, without that it’s nothing. You can win the medals on your own but without all this it’s nothing,” added Michael.
Thursday 7 April 2022