Sixty years strong

January 7, 2021 BY

Action from the Jim Wall Ironman 2020. The popular event will be a much-anticipated day on the surf lifesaving competition calendar. Photo: PAUL TANAKA

The Surf Coast Times Jim Wall Iron Race will kickstart the lifesaving competition calendar for the 60th time on January 16 at Torquay.

Last summer’s competition season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all involved hope the outstanding Surf Coast Times Jim Wall Iron Race will be the start of a strong season.

The event will take place for the 60th time this year, making it the longest running Iron event in Australia.

Torquay Surf Life Saving Club competition director Peter Quinlan said it was great to begin this year with a lot more optimism for a full season ahead than 12 months ago.

“After the competition calendar was cut short last summer and with our events this season all pushed to late January/February, the Jim Wall event is the perfect start to the 2020/21 season,” Mr Quinlan said.

He anticipated a strong local and Victorian flavour given interstate athletes have restricted entry to Victoria.

“With local favourite Grace Harris home from her new Queensland training base, and previous winner Matt Gilling also a contender, we’d be happy to have a Victorian monopoly in the 60th year.”

The event began in 1962 as the Jim Wall Surfathon, named after early club president, the unique event was created to challenge competitors all-round surf and water ability in an endurance format.

It is believed to be the first continuous Ironman event staged in what has now become the standard format. The event has become a great hit-out for many athletes around the country.

Jim Wall Ironman is the ultimate test of endurance across four lifesaving events, board, ski, swim and run, with many athletes regarding it as their favourite on the surf sports calendar. While the origins of the event remain a big part of Torquay history, with the Wall family still presenting the trophies.

Jim Wall 2021 will see an event card of 13 specialty races and begins at 1pm. The free local event is encouraging the community to head to the surf beach to catch the action, with a BBQ in the afternoon and the club bar open from 4pm.