After a whirlwind week of competition on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (The Aussies) are over for 2021.
Athletes waited for 740 days since Aussies 2019 for the chance to compete at this level, in particular Team Victoria, whose training and competition opportunities were interrupted for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Victorian athletes’ dedication to lifesaving and their sport throughout this challenging period has been remarkable and we are incredibly proud of their efforts.
Victoria claimed six gold medals, eight silver and four bronze across the Youth, Masters and Open competition and made an impressive 70-plus finals during the week across water, beach, surf boat and lifesaving event disciplines.
Lorne Surf Life Saving Club’s Open Men’s surf boat team ‘Lorne Chops’ smashed the short course race to claim gold, Campbell Asher from Ocean Grove took the top spot in the Under 15 board riding, Nicole Matthews won the 50-59 Women’s malibu long board riding, Half Moon Bay’s brother duo Russel and Cary Fox dominated the 30-45 double ski event, also making the Open final in this event and two Master’s women’s surf boat teams, ‘Lorne Again’ and ‘Fairhaven Hot Catch’ took out the 160 years’ and 220 years’ surf boats respectively.
Defending Mixed 5-person Rescue and Resuscitation (R&R) champions the South Melbourne Seahorses won silver in the Under 19 event. In the Master’s arena, Ocean Grove’s Amenah McDonald claimed silver in the 45-49 Ironwoman, backed up by a bronze in the 45-49 ski race. Mordialloc Life Saving Club’s Samantha Barrow also brought home a silver in the 40-44 flags and bronze in the 40-44 beach sprint.
Fellow silver medallists in the Masters were Portsea’s 170 years men’s beach relay team, Tim Altman and Glen Singleton in the 45-49 double ski, Port Fairy taking the club’s first ever Aussie surf boats medal in the 180 women’s surf boat and St Kilda’s ‘Angry Rush Ins’180 years men’s surf boat and ‘Angry Dogs’ 220 men’s surf boat teams.
Rounding out Victoria’s podium finishes was South Melbourne LSC’s Daisy Graham in the Under 19 women’s 2km beach run, who then teamed up with Sarah Robinson to take bronze in the Under 19 women’s 2x 1km relay, the Hampton LSC Open women’s beach relay team in an impressive comeback following a nasty stumble and the Anglesea open women’s 5-person R&R team.
Other highlights across the week included:
- Jemma Holt, Mordialloc, 4th in the U14 surf race, finalist in the board and ironwoman events
- Ashton Roberts, Mentone, 4th in the U15 ironman
- Hudson Pearce, 6th in the U14 board race and part of Ocean Grove’s 6th place board relay team
- Jesse Coulson, Ocean Grove and Sophie Thomas, Warrnambool, Open surf race finalists
- Emily Carty and Mia Spencer, Hampton 4th in Open and Under 19 women’s beach sprints
- Jane McMeel, Warrnambool, 4th Open women’s 2km run
- Russel Fox and Maddy Hurst, Half Moon Bay, Open ski finalists
- Steph Hunter, Portsea, U17 belt swim final
- Tom Kingshott and George Wheeldon, Ocean Grove, U19 double ski final
- Iestyn Knapp, Ocean Grove and Michael Garbelotto, Lorne, U19 surf race final
- Xavier Purcell, Portsea, U17 men’s surf race final
- St Kilda Angry Sea Otters, Lorne Chops, Portsea, Lorne Edge Open men’s and women’s surf boat finalists
- St Kilda Salamanders, U23 women’s surf boat finalists
A shout out also to Victoria’s 37 members including officials for overseeing the competition, without their early mornings and long days in the sun, the competition could not go ahead.
Four of Victoria’s officials were recognised at the Aussies for their many years of service, including Neil Morarty from Lorne for 50 years service and Michael Martin (Anglesea) Roger Lloyd (Point Lonsdale) and Maurice McCutcheon (Fairhaven) for 40 years’ service. Congratulations on this milestone and thank you for your dedication to surf sports in Victoria, nationally and internationally.
Two Victorian Officials, Phillip Mawkes from Hampton and Elise McCorriston from Venus Bay were also selected on National Scholarships to officiate events at the 2021 Australian Titles.
LSV also provided scholarships to emerging officials Dominique Davidson from Altona and Leonie Newey from Williamstown, who officiated at their first Australian Titles. These scholarships provided them with the opportunity to develop their skills at a national level and saw Surf Life Saving Australia match each scholarship holder with a mentor to share knowledge with them.
The scholarships are a fantastic initiative for Victorian Officials to further their development and bring improved expertise and knowledge back to our Victorian competitions.
Special thanks also go to Victoria’s team managers, coaches and families for their support of our athletes and clubs during our most challenging year yet. Congratulations on a fantastic Aussies campaign!