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Mother Nature threw up a challenge with a surging swell and swirly wind, but the veteran competitors relished the conditions during what was a sizzling first day of action at the 2018 NSW Masters Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club.

In what is shaping up to be the battle for Bondi, Bondi Surf Bathers proved to be the early pacesetters racing to first place by the end of the day’s proceedings.

Defending champions North Bondi SLSC are sitting in second with Redhead surging to third on the back of some encouraging results.

Individual events were the focus of day one with the competition commencing under strikingly blue skies, and the presence of a strong shore dump certainly made things interesting as competitors negotiated the tricky conditions.

It was a solid day of racing for Trent Martin (MacMasters Beach) who took home medals in all five of his events including gold in the 30-34 Surf Race, Ironman and Board Race.

Other winners in the highly competitive age group included Redhead’s Adam Rowe (Ski), North Bondi’s Dean Scarrf who claimed the Beach Sprint/Flag double, and Quentin Reeve (Palm Beach) who was first past the post in the 2KM Beach Run.

Some of the female athletes who enjoyed success included North Bondi’s Eloise Starr (Rescue Tube Rescue), Nicole Jones (Beach Sprint), and Emily Gillies (Ski).

“It was an awesome race fantastic to get my first ski gold. The start really set us up perfectly and there was a lot of whitewash to navigate,” said Gillies.

Wednesday proved busy for the Bondi lifesaver who also took gold in the 30-34 Board Race, bronze in the Board Race, and silver in the Rescue Tube Rescue and Ironwoman.

Other water athletes to shine included Terrigal’s Paul Lemmon who took home gold in the 50-54 Surf Race, Rescue Tube Rescue, and Ironman events, and former Aussies Ironman Champion Robert Chapman (Bondi Surf Bathers) who won gold in the 60-64 Iron and Surf Races and finished just outside the medals in the Rescue Tube Rescue.

Blacksmiths is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Mei-Ling Venning who claimed three gold medals in the 70+ Surf Race, Beach Sprint and Flag events to back up her performances from 2017. Club mates Barbara Attard and Wendy McNamara were among a host of Toowoon Bay athletes to stand on the podium.  

Also enjoying the conditions was North Avoca’s Kim Findlay who claimed bronze in the 35-39 Rescue Tube, Ski, and Board Races before storming home to convincingly win the Ironwoman.

“It was great to get a win today as this is what I train for. Training has been going really well we have a great group at North Avoca and with a full program scheduled it’s fantastic to be back in the water,” she said.

There was action on the beach too with a number of impressive results as the athletes loosened their hamstrings and channelled their inner Usain Bolt to scorch the track on the way to sprint or flag glory.

Male Winners on the track included Rubin Ruzicka (Newport), Nigel Kassulke (Manly), and Maxwell Murphy (South Maroubra).

While Davina Strauss (Coledale), Sophie Stokes (Mona Vale), and Robyn Henderson (Queenscliff) also medalled in their respective events.

Competition was fierce in the Beach Flags as expected and with the event’s first aiders subtly moving into position in case they were needed the athletes had no hesitation in putting their bodies on the line.  

One of the most closely fought races was the Male’s 40-44 event eventually taken out by Wade Alcock (Caves Beach) who did just enough to hold off Warriewood’s Ben Hargy.

“It was very competitive the boys certainly pushed me all the way. It’s great to compete at a familiar beach, the sand was very soft which made it challenging but fortunately I managed to convince the officials to let us run with that wind rather than against it,” Alcock said.

The 2018 NSW Masters Championships, proudly supported by Your local club continues tomorrow Thursday 8 March with the team events. Action kicks off at 8:00am AEDT

Day One Masters Point Score

Bondi Surf Bathers LSC – 310

North Bondi SLSC – 221

Redhead SLSC – 148

Queenscliff SLSC – 131

Coogee SLSC – 131

Toowoon Bay SLSC – 120

Umina Beach SLSC – 108

Manly LSC – 98

Palm Beach SLSC - 87

Mona Vale SLSC - 83


Wednesday 7 March 2018