My Beach

Surf sports greats Natalie Morris and Mark Finucane were recognised for their sporting achievements as they were inducted into Surf Life Saving WA’s Sporting Hall of fame in front of more than 460 club mates and peers at the organisation’s annual Awards of Excellence last Saturday night.

One of the highest honours bestowed upon members, signifying exceptional achievements by athletes in their chosen surf sport discipline, the first inductee of the evening was Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club’s Natalie Morris.

In a time when there were only three events available to women to compete in, the swim, board and sprint, during her era Natalie set the pace for women’s surf swimming. Her state successes included six open surf race champion titles; the inaugural open state Ironman title in 1993; the 1993 Bernie Kelly Medal; while at a national level, she took open surf race silver and bronze medals.

Natalie also represented WA on four occasions, from 1987 to 1990, at a time where only one female could be part of each state’s representative team. There is little doubt that should Natalie have had the opportunity to compete in as many events in her time, as is available to women now, she would have had many more titles to her name.

An inspiration to the women of surf, Natalie went on to complete her Junior Activities Age Group Manager Course in 2010, and to this day encourages and mentors budding surf sports athletes and lifesavers, helping them reach their full potential.

The second inductee of the evening was Mark Finucane, who started his surf life saving journey at 4 years of age with the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club. From there, Mark worked his way to becoming an elite Ironman and surf race competitor, taking out five WA open Ironman titles in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

In 1996, Mark took out both the open and U/18 WA Ironman title, and his success extended to the Aussies where he picked up a string of silver and bronze medals in the Ironman and surf race events.

Mark paved the way for future West Australian athletes, as one of the first professional Ironmen from WA to compete in the Uncle Toby’s Ironman Super Series. He also proved himself a great mentor to other athletes, named as a WA senior Surf Life Saving team water coach in 2007 and 2008.

Congratulations to both of these athletes as they join a list of elite West Australian sporting champions who have honed their skills at local surf clubs, and gone on to dominate surf sports at a state, national and international level.

Get the full list of WA Sporting Hall of Fame athletes here.