Victorian lifesavers brought home eleven gold medals from the 2017 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, held on the Gold Coast from 25 March – 2 April 2017.
Commonly referred to as The Aussies, the biggest sporting event of the surf lifesaving season is a surf sports showcase of the skills needed by our volunteers to ensure they are rescue ready.
It attracts more than 7000 lifesavers from Australia’s 313 surf clubs each year, to compete in more than 400 beach and ocean events over nine days.
This year Mother Nature provided additional challenges to the event, in the form of extreme weather conditions and poor water quality in the aftermath of ex Cyclone Debbie. As a result, more than half of the open events were cancelled.
Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Melissa King said the decision to cancel water based events was not taken lightly.
“The conditions and the information provided by external agencies alongside our own risk assessment exceeded our risk tolerances,’’ Ms King said.
“Water quality, water visibility, debris and the potential for increased marine activity were all considered in making the decision.
“The decision was made to put the health and wellbeing of our members first.’’
The youth competition was able to run unaffected and Jan Juc’s Henry Van Til brought home a gold medal for his performance in the U14 Beach Sprint and Torquay’s Jayden Schram placed first in the U15 Male Surf Board Riding.
The South Melbourne U15 Mixed R&R team won silver, while bronze medals were awarded to Ocean Grove’s Tim Hannan in the U14 Board Race and Point Leo’s Connor Ogilvie in the U14 2km Beach Run.
In the masters competition, Victoria secured eight gold, six silver and seven bronze medals.
Anglesea’s Naantali Marshall scored three of those gold medals in the 40-44 Board Race, Ironwoman and Surf Race, while the others were won by Lorne’s Lisa Wadling in the 40-44 Ski Race, Ocean Grove’s Susan Howell in the 55-59 Female 2km beach run, Half Moon Bay’s Stephen Seddon in the 40-44 Board Race, Half Moon Bay’s 170 years Ski Relay team and Lorne’s 40-44 female double ski team.
The open competition was most affected by the extreme weather, but sand events were still held.
Congratulations to Anglesea’s Open Mixed 5 Person R&R team of Melissa Bird, Emma Moore, Ryan Nolan, Georgina Brown and Callum Brennan, winning gold in the adapted event (dry run-through only).
Next year The Aussies will be held at Scarborough Beach in Perth from 14-22 April 2018.
Photo credit: Surf Life Saving Australia