As he moved up the ranks in the surf sport scene he was a constant medal threat on the sand across Australia, so it is no surprise that beach star Dean Scarff is making a seamless transition to Masters competition.
They say change is as good as a holiday, and this season after flying the flag proudly for Collaroy for so long, Scarff made the shift to North Bondi SLSNSW for his first campaign in the Masters division.
Collaroy has punched well above its weight on the sand in recent years, boasting an incredibly talented group of athletes, which counted Katie Williams and Ross Langbein among their number.
The desire to be involved in team and not just individual events however, would prove a strong motivator for Scarff and Langbein to make the move.
It proved to be a fortunate decision for the pair who joined a strong beach squad at North Bondi.
“I actually knew a lot of the North Bondi guys outside surf so I was an easy decision to come down and the club couldn’t have been more welcoming,” said Scarff.
“As a team we’ve been practicing our changes a lot, and I think for a lot of the guys who hadn’t been competing for a while were keen to really make their mark on the competition this season.”
If that was the unspoken goal for the squad, they certainly achieved that, with the Beach Relay team burning up the sand at Blacksmiths Beach at the NSW titles in March.
Scarff himself was also in fine form at State taking home gold in the 30-34 Beach Sprint and Flag events to finish with three medals hanging round his neck.
He could have been forgiven for basking in the glory of his success, but that just wouldn’t be his style and, in the immediate aftermath of his win he was already speaking of the challenge that would await him at The Australian titles in Perth.
Just over a month later he was in the West Australian capital, and from the start it was clear that he brought his good form across the Nullarbor.
He impressed in the Beach Sprint downing Mollymook’s Daniel Robberds in the final before the pair clashed in the Flags with Scarff again coming out on top.
Scarff completed his hat-trick of golds by teaming up with fellow speedsters Langbein, Drew Richardson and John Minto to take gold in the 140 years Beach Relay ahead of both Palm Beach (Queensland) and their fellow North Bondi lifesavers who finished in third.
In many ways the 30-34 age group is arguably more competitive than Opens, and at 31 Scarff is still turning out performances that would more than match it with his younger rivals.
But the likes of Newport duo Jake Lynch and Blake Drysdale won’t need to look over their shoulders just yet with the man himself preferring to focus on his Masters commitments.
That’s not to say that he has gone completely cold turkey on the idea of Open competition as beach events are in his blood after all.
“It’s nice to still compete in Opens as a social thing but I’m taking a little less seriously than I have in the past. Master is now my focus where I’d like to set all the expectations,”Scarff said.
“In terms of Open competition I think I’d focus more on Flags than Sprints. I’m just stoked with this whole first year but I would say Masters is definitely tougher than Opens!”
One thing that is crystal clear is that Dean Scarff still retains that sheer love of running fast.
If his form throughout last summer is any guide then he could very well find himself on podiums around Australia for seasons to come.
Thursday 5 July 2018