There’s no rest for the wicked over the Christmas break with NSW athletes, Lizzie Welborn and Jackson Borg looking to build on their Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Iron Series opening weekend success with fierce and uncompromising holiday training schedules ahead of Round 3 and 4 in the new year.

In a stacked field dominated by Queensland-based athletes, it was the noisy neighbours to the south who made the biggest impact in familiar local conditions at Manly, with Welborn and Borg – both of athlete powerhouse, Newport SLSC – each picking up round wins.

Georgia Miller, currently of Northcliffe but formerly of both Manly and Newport, also picked up a round win.

For Borg, the elimination-based Survival format of Round 2 on Sunday was his first ever round win while Welborn’s Round 1 EnduroSurf format win on Saturday was her second since joining the series, and her first in more than five years after her maiden triumph in Cronulla in 2017.

That said, neither will be resting on their laurels. The holiday break for Borg is just another chance to knuckle down and train hard, even if it means skipping some Christmas staples.

“I’ve been letting my body recover and absorb properly the days of racing, but I’ll be straight back into it over Christmas trying to get a jump on those who might not be training or are taking it a little easier,” he said.

“I’ll try and avoid eating too much over the break, but the grandparents can be pretty convincing.”

It won’t be quite as strict in the Welborn household, but she still plans to put in the hard yards to stay in peak condition.

“I love indulging where I can and at Christmas you always eat really good food,” she said.

“I’m up the Coast with my family and I’ll change the training regime a little bit but I’ll be sticking to a similar schedule. The squad is all away so we do mostly individual stuff instead of team work but it’s nice to do things differently.”

With so many athletes relocating to Queensland to compete, the pair are beacons of strength for NSW surf sports, flying the flag and encouraging the next generation to push themselves and chase their goals.

“Going into the series I was the only female NSW competitor, and it hasn’t been like that for a long time, but I’m very proud of that,” Welborn said.

“I really wanted to prove for the Nippers growing up in NSW, I wanted to prove to them we can do it from here.

“I hope these results are showing that next generation of athletes what’s possible.”

The Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Iron Series shifts south to Maroubra for Round 3 and 4 on the weekend of 14-15 January, which will be the next opportunity for NSW to put its best foot forward on the sand and in the surf.

It could also be where Welborn and Borg’s chances of taking out the Male and Female series’, respectively, get a real kick in the right direction.

“I think the goal is always the podium, but you can’t say you don’t want to win it,” Borg said.

“I grew up in Maroubra, it’ll be pretty cool to go back there. It’s where I caught my first wave and I’m excited to race there,” Welborn added.

“Nice open beach, it’ll be great for competition.”

Wednesday 21 December 2022