Emotions ran high on the beach as the combination of Lani Pallister, Lana Rogers and Lucinda Kelly for the Alex Club delivered an emphatic win ahead of Northcliffe A & B teams.
After a blistering lead set by Pallister, Rogers continued to put her mark on the race in the board leg with nothing for Kelly to do but steady the ship and bring it home.
Pallister, who is also busy preparing for upcoming swim meets, said today’s win was very special.
“I came here for the heats on Wednesday and had a swim meet on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. While the girls were going around the cans I was swimming laps in the pool.
“To be able to come back today with these girls is super incredible and I am happy to have them in my corner,” she said.
The women gave the men’s team the added motivation they needed to bring home the gold, with the combination of Cooper Williams, Zachary Tabuai, Brayden Casamento, James Porter, Jett Kenny and Levi Penn taking the win ahead of Northcliffe and Maroochydore.
It was the redemption that Williams was so desperately chasing, after he admitted to a disappointing finish earlier in the Open Ironman. He said he wanted to put his teammates in the best possible position as the first swimmer out.
“I have been swimming pretty well all day and I just wanted to get out in front and leave it to them… and they did the job!
“I just knew the rest of the team could do the job and with the two under 19s they just set the platform for us.
“We wouldn’t even have dreamed of winning a medal, to win a gold is just unbelievable,” he said.
In the Open Female Board 23 year old Hannah Sculley delivered an impressive win ahead of Brodee Trinca (Southport) and Harriett Brown (Northcliffe).
“It’s awesome! I have always wanted this one being a board paddler and I have just had some unlucky races over the past few Aussies so it means a lot to get this one,” said Sculley.
“I didn’t have the best start and ended up going with Harriet the whole way and we jumped on Lizzie’s wash at the first can. I saw a massive wave come and I did everything I could to get on that front wave and it went from there,” she said.
Earlier the Open Male Ski final saw kayaker Jackson Collins (North Bondi), who has his sights set on an Olympic debut come Paris 2024, claimed back to back Australian ski titles.
With conditions playing a role, Collins knew what his race plan was that saw him go on to finish ahead of Ben Carberry (Currumbin) and Max Brooks (Newport).
“I did my best to get from can two to three as quickly as I could and get on the wave. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hold the wave as I haven’t been on a surf ski since January.
“Nick Crilly, one of my mentors, won the Open Single Ski 2015 & 2016, to be able to do that means the world to me,” he said.
Jackson’s fellow North Bondi teammate, Olympian Jim Walker, delivered an impressive performance to narrowly miss a medal, taking out fourth place at the ripe old age of 50.
Former ICF World Ocean Ski Champion Danielle McKenzie got the one gold medal she was working for the most when she took out the Australian Open Female Surf Ski title ahead of Jemma Smith (Newport) and Hannah Minogue (Bulli).
“It was such a tough race out there, ups and downs, and to come across the line in a sprint finish is unreal.
“The girls were really awesome out there, really fun to be racing in some awesome surf conditions,” he said.
Ocean swim star Nick Sloman (Northcliffe) was able take his fourth consecutive Open Male Surf Swim crown, delivering another impressive swim ahead of Cooper Williams (Alexandra Headland) and Bailey Armstrong (Northcliffe).
“It gets tougher every year and I have got a big target on my back now, winning four. I am used to swimming 10km which is a 2 hour race… this is over in 4 minutes.
“I have been down here since 7am looking and thought I should come straight in… a lot of the boys went north and it didn’t pay off for them,” he said.
DAY & MILLER STAGE STUNNING COMEBACKS TO CLAIM AUSSIE IRONMAN & IRONWOMAN CROWNS
Ali Day (Surfers Paradise) and Georgia Miller (Northcliffe) have staged a stunning comeback to claim the 2022 Australian Surf Life Saving IronMan & Ironwoman crowns at North Kirra Beach.
Tricky conditions saw all competitors have to fight for the finals gold medals, with Day and Miller able to use their surf skills to take back to back titles.
Day came out of the opening swim leg in fifth place, managing to paddle his way back to second place after the board. But it was his final ski leg where he separated from the pack, navigating the back break to leave his competition in their wake.
The Australian IronMan win caps off a perfect season for Day who also won the Coolangatta Gold and Nutri-Grain Ironman Series titles.
“This is the best feeling… I wish you could bottle that feeling up when I was about 20 metres off the beach and the whole beach just erupted. I didn’t win it the prettiest of ways, I’ve definitely made ironman races look a little easier, that was a tough one… I had to really work for it today.
“So much pressure, so many nerves go into a 12 minute race. To win it once was incredible, to win it again today… I’m lost for words really,” he said.
Miller added her name alongside Ironwoman great Karla Gilbert, when she claimed her third Australian crown. It came down to a run up the beach with dual Australian Ironwoman champion Courtney Hancock, but Miller was able to hold on and take out the title.
It was an especially sweet win for Miller who was sidelined during the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series after suffering COVID.
“It’s just incredible, I really didn’t think this would happen [taking back to back titles],” said Miller.
“This stuff just doesn’t happen every day so it’s going to take a little while to sink in. I’m so excited, I just can’t wait to celebrate.
“I didn’t get off to a good start, I was in about fourth, but I managed to claw my way back into things.
“We know these conditions really well, we train in them every day [on the Gold Coast],” she said.