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The Bondi SBLSC Masters lineup at this year’s State Championships featured a new but very familiar face.

Recently retired Sydney Swans star Kurt Tippett headed out in style at his first State Titles sporting the blue and white quartered cap of the hallowed foundation surf club from Australia’s most iconic beach.

The 2019 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships proudly supported by Your local club is currently running through until Sunday 10 March at Swansea Belmont SLSC, Lake Macquarie.

Bondi are the current NSW Masters Champions and the addition of the former big kicking AFL player to the team will no doubt boost their chances of retaining the title this year. Kurt has been training up a storm in the lead up to the State Championships and won the 30-34 Yrs Surf Race today and is competing in teams events on Thursday.

“I’ve been doing a bit of training. I get a bit competitive and have been training with the Bondi crew on the boards. Training and being fit and healthy is something I’ve always done. Coming out of football my body was a bit banged up but doing this in the water allows me to stay fit and healthy without beating myself up too much,” said Tippett.

Growing up in Queensland, Tippett was a lifesaver at Nth Burleigh and is loving getting back into the sport, renewing his lifesaving skills and spending time patrolling the beach.

“I did a lot of sports but didn’t have the time to focus on Surf Life Saving. I started playing footy but since finishing with the Swans it’s been an opportunity to jump back in the water. I’m very grateful to Bondi for welcoming me. I’ve loved getting back into the water,” he said.

Despite competing at an elite level in one of the most demanding sports on the body, Tippett has a new appreciation for surf’s top Ironmen and women after competing in this first major event.

“It’s another level of fitness. I’ve been doing swimming in the pool but when you get into the surf it’s a whole other level. 

“Ali Day is a good mate of mine and last season we saw first hand how fit he was. He was doing the running with our guys and leaving them for dead. We’ve got a good appreciation of how fit the Ironmen and women are,” he laughed.

Kurt is enjoying being back in the surf family and is loving his new sport.

“It’s great to see so many people of all ages and abilities are here and having a great time. It’s just a big community. I’ve gone from going to work everyday with 50 of my best mates and now the surf club is giving me a similar feeling. I go down there and enjoy hanging out with the community feel,” said Tippett.

And while he was happy to take on the water events at the Championships, the beach run and sprints was not part of the plan for the injury plagued footballer.

“They asked if I wanted to do the beach run but I said nah, I reckon I’ve done enough running for now,” he laughed, with AFL players regularly covering up to 15-20 kms during a match.


Wednesday 6 March 2019