THE biggest event in the surf life saving calendar gets under way this Friday on the Sunshine Coast.
The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, better known as “The Aussies” will see more than 6,000 competitors from 315 different surf clubs participate in over 480 events across nine days.
Six Ocean Grove youth competitors – Campbell Asher, Luke Bird, William Macdonald, Pippi McIntyre, Hudson Pearce and Tom Perez Pages – will have their first test on the national stage when they travel north.
The six young guns will compete in a range of water events including board races, surf swim races, relays and the ‘blue ribbon’ iron man/woman events comprising of a swim, board paddle and two transition runs.
All are looking forward to the challenge and are making their final preparations to travel to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland with the Ocean Grove team for the first time.
“I’m really excited to test myself in Queensland’s challenging conditions against the best athletes in the country,” McIntyre said.
“The Aussies didn’t go ahead last year due to COVID-19 so it’s great to finally have a chance to travel and compete with the team.”
The youth team will travel with the experienced Ocean Grove senior team of those aged 20 and over, including Victorian Open Ironman Champion Jesse Coulson.
“We train in some tough conditions on the Surf Coast, so I’m feeling prepared to take on the Queensland surf conditions,” Coulson said.
Also heading up are Lorne SLSC’s ‘Lorne Edge’ open women’s surf boat team.
The team recently took out the gold medal at the Victorian Surf Boats Championships on their home turf at Lorne beach.
Team member Chantal Guziak says the past year of restrictions and lockdowns has made them more resilient.
“After the year we Victorians went through in 2020, we have learned that if something is out of your control, you need to do your best to make the most of the circumstances you’re dealt,” Guziak said.
“Success comes down to wanting to be the best for your crew and your club more than for yourself.
“A big part of this is supporting each other and it helps when you get a crew like ours that has a positive dynamic both in and out of the boat.”
Lorne Edge say they hope to capitalise on their Victorian result at the Aussies.