Despite a drizzly and cold start to the weekend, by Sunday afternoon both the weather and action had heated up as WA’s best surf sports athletes hit it out at Scarborough Beach in the SunSmart WA Senior Surf Life Saving Championships.
With more than 950 athletes from 27 clubs assembled, the championships got off with a bang as the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, formally opened the events before spending time mingling with athletes and attendees.
On the beach, Swanbourne Nedlands started strong with Rhodri Simmonds and Bernadette Williams taking gold in the Open Male and Female 2km beach run while U17 male winner Ben Johnson (Scarboro) set a blistering pace, catching the open athletes to cross the line second overall.
The Open Male Beach Sprint held no surprises as world champ Jackson Symonds (Sorrento) sailed through the heats to take an easy win over club mate and 2018 state champ Charlie Rigby, with North Cottesloe’s Matthew Lloyd bringing home the bronze.
The women’s field was much tighter with City of Perth’s Britt Huitenga, following her recent wins in the WA Surf League, first over the line ahead of club mate Sophie Watts with Sorrento’s Sydney Rafferty hot on their heels in third, following her win in the U19 event.
Sunday saw the beach events move into the amphitheatre with the flags playing out to a crowd. Jackson Symonds continued his dominance taking gold in the Open Male event, with North Cottesloe’s Dominic Banks-Smith silver ahead of club mate Thomas Nolan.
In the female arena, reigning champion Gabby Murphy (City of Perth) took the win ahead of North Cottesloe’s Tegan Maffescioni, with Brittany Huitenga (City of Perth) in third, while Sydney Rafferty further added to her collection with a win in the U19 field.
In the water the U19 Female Ironman saw Mullaloo’s Soraya Lee and City of Perth’s Sophie Lloyd battle it out to the very end. First out of the water after the ski, and with a strong swim leg, Lloyd chased down Lee on the board bringing them onto the beach together. In a neck and neck sprint for the finish line and with just three steps to go, Lee took the lead for the win. Trigg Island’s Meg Warne finished in third.
Lee went on to continue her winning form across the weekend, including gold in the Open Female Surf Race; and the U19 and Open Female Board Rescue with Neve Macleod; before stepping up into the Open Female Ironman event on Sunday to take second.
Trigg Island’s Ceris Graham would have been extremely happy with her performance across the weekend, taking a comfortable win in the Open Female Ironman, having already pocketed gold in the Open Female Board Race and Double Ski; and the Board, Single Ski and Taplin Relays.
In the Open Female Ski, Olympian Alana Nicholls (Trigg Island), Ceris Graham and Asa Nowell (North Cottesloe) were favourites to take the title and for the first half of the race it looked likely however, clashing while making their way around the first can, all three missed the turn opening the race up to the rest of the field. In the end it was Lauren Smaniotto who held on for a great win followed by Paige Wood and Jazmin Shipway Carr making it a Trigg Island trifecta.
In the male arena, Saturday’s events were dominated by City of Perth’s Ethan Jackson and Riley Walker who paired up and looked almost unstoppable. They kicked off their campaign with gold in the U19 Board Rescue, backed up with a win in the open event ahead of Trigg Island’s Kelton Mulvay and Jake Smith; with Devon Caren and Benjamin Jones in third; followed by gold in the U19 Double Ski before teaming up with Laine Andrew for the win in the U19 Ski Relay.
Things heated up even more as they took each other on in the U19 Ironman. With a strong start in the ski leg, Walker had the lead over club mates Jackson and Matthew Colliss. The pair chipped away through the swim, closing in as they headed into the board leg with all three riding the same wave into the beach. A final sprint to the line saw Walker get the edge over Jackson in 2nd and Colliss in 3rd, before the three teamed up to take gold in the U19 Male Board and Taplin Relays.
Amongst other placings, Walker also took gold in the U19 Male Single Ski and U19 Male Board Race, to Jackson’s 3rd placings before Sunday saw them top off the weekend’s events with the Open Ironman, Jackson finishing in 4th and Walker 5th.
In a competitive Open Male Ski field, Dan Humble (Trigg Island) and Steve Bird (North Cottesloe) led the field out and around the cans. On the return leg, Humble pulled away from the field establishing a one ski length lead but was joined on a wave by Reece Baker (Trigg Island), Fergus Morgan (Trigg Island) and Bird. All four sprinted to the line and, in a very close finish, the judges gave Bird the win followed by Morgan 2nd , Humble 3rd .
Returning to Perth for the weekend, former Mullaloo athlete Wes Gould, now racing for Kurrawa SLSC, took to the water with a win in the Open Board before joining the start line for the Open Male Ironman. Providing edge of your seat excitement, the battle was on from the start as Gould and Trigg Island’s Will Savage, who had already enjoyed a successful weekend in the U17 arena including a win in the Ironman event on the Saturday, duelled it out.
Well back in the field after the ski length, Savage powered through the swim and was out of the water and onto the board first, though Gould was able to reign him in, hitting the beach together where Gould was off the board and running with a slight edge and the inside line on Savage. Digging deep, Savage caught a flagging Gould only metres from the finish line, overtaking him for the win. Coming in behind Gould in a comfortable third was Trigg Island’s Ben Jones, followed shortly by City of Perth’s Max Anderson-Loake.
At the other end of the beach, the surf boat short course events took place on Saturday. The open female event saw North Cottesloe Stiffs take the win ahead of teammates Resolute, with Scarboro Party Pies in third, while in the male arena it was Scarboro Black over the Fremantle Fajitas, with North Cottesloe’s Yeah the Boys in third.
In Sunday’s open events, North Cottesloe once again showed their dominance in the surf boats arena with reigning champs North Cottesloe Resolute taking the win in the open female over North Cottesloe Stiffs and City of Perth Collision, while the men’s arena saw reigning champs North Cottesloe Yeah the Boys relegated to second behind fellow clubbies the Boatmen, reclaiming their 2017 title; with City of Perth’s Barebacks in third.
After some dominant performances by their athletes across the weekend congratulations to Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club who were crowned 2019 Champion Senior and Youth Club, backing up their win in the recent Master’s competition.
Congratulations to all participants across the weekend, from athletes to officials to spectators. With only three weeks to go to The Aussies, we wish everyone heading off to compete the best of luck!
Event Results can be found here.
CHECK OUT THE HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO HERE!
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