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With nearly 900 athletes from 23 Clubs, and over 50 officials, Trigg Beach was the place to be over the weekend of March 4 and 5 as it played host to the 2017 SunSmart WA Senior Surf Life Saving Championships, bringing the State’s best surf sports athletes together for some fierce competition.
The weekend began with the 2km Beach Run, before spectators gathered to watch the Official Opening Ceremony, opened by The Honourable Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia and Surf Life Saving WA President Craig Smith-Gander. Featuring the traditional and iconic March Past event; accompanied by the WA Police Pipe Band and won by Trigg Island SLSC, the Opening Ceremony included the presentation of the Youth Club Achiever Awards to some very deserving recipients.
As events moved into full swing for the weekend athletes battled unhelpful conditions with a deep gutter and a shallow bank proving testing for competitors throughout the weekend. The heat came through late in the day on Saturday and some wind from the south added to the challenge.
The Beach events were held over two days with Sprints and Relays on the first and Flags on the second. A strong showing from Sorrento beachies had Jackson Symonds claiming gold in every beach sprint event. Up and comer Charlie Rigby picked up silver in the Sprint and aided Symonds to take out gold in the relay. Recent years have seen the flags hotly contested by North Cottesloe's Tom Nolan and Symonds and; despite Nolan was going for his 9th straight WA Flags title, Symonds had other plans taking out his first WA flags title!
The women’s beach was equally close with City of Perth's Gabrielle Murphy and North Cottesloe's Tegan Maffescioni claiming a gold and silver each in the flags and sprints respectively. Sorrento and Scarboro both demonstrated that they have some strong talent coming though in the women’s ranks, performing well in relays and age group events.
The Surf Boats were challenged by a difficult gutter and bank that would need expert leadership and skill to be shown by the sweeps to stay in medal contention. The Open events were secured by North Cottesloe Men while City of Perth Women came through for a second year to keep North Cott off the top of the dais. Six of the available gold medals went to North Cott showing they still dominate the Surf Boat arena but are being challenged by some young crews wanting to test their mettle.
Trigg Island excelled in the water arenas giving them enough points overall to take out the club points score. The Ski races were controlled by Trigg Island, led by Reece Baker with golds being picked up in the Mixed Double, Men’s Single and Men’s Ski Relay. Georgia Smith was solid in the swim events picking up golds in the Surf Race, Surf Teams and Rescue Tube Rescue, among other team medals. Wes Gould and Ben Jones anchored the Mullaloo team with strong team events and an individual gold each as well.
City of Perth picked up multiple golds from Jayde Hardstaff in the Women’s arena and had their boat crews contribute to their tally with the Lifesaver Relay and the Women’s Open Surf Boat crew. Jack Retty was back to fighting fit after being out for much of this season, taking out the Surf Race and adding a few gold medals to the trophy cabinet by way of team events.
The final races of Sunday were fantastic to watch, with the lead contested throughout. The Swim-Board-Ski order for the Ironman was very similar to many of the races run throughout the season and the event was always going to be a fierce competition. The Ironwoman race was hard fought; Jayde Hardstaff sitting in 5th turning the cans on the way home from the Board leg where she was able to pick up a nice runner getting her to the sand in 1st. At the start of the Ski leg, Hardstaff just managed to punch through a wave before her fellow competitors sitting in 2nd and 3rd place were knocked from their skis. The rest of the field was fortunate enough to catch the backwash wave out onto Hardstaff’s wash. It was a tight race to the finish with a sprint up the sand and exhaustion for all the girls. Hardstaff (CY) just edged out Jessie Willshire (BY) and Ceris Graham (TI) took home the bronze.
The Ironman final saw Tom Gallagher (CY) get onto his board first after a strong run leg. Jack Retty (CY) and Ben Jones (ML) were trailing, but stayed close enough to keep up with Gallagher’s wash. Max Anderson-Loake (CY) was close in 4th place, and this was the order they stayed in up until they reached the beach for the final leg. Jones was the first to the Ski but all three (Gallagher, Jones and Retty) broke through the wave zone at the same time. Jones was the first one on his way home, but Anderson-Loake came in fast, giving him a ski-length lead on Retty. Retty battled back to close the gap and the pair finished the Ski leg together, using the same wave to hit the beach before the sprint for the finish line. The finish of the race was neck and neck, but Ben Jones from Mullaloo had too much speed over the soft sand for Jack Retty. Bronze was secured by Josh Maurice (CY) who came from behind with a fantastic Ski Leg to finish his race off.
Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club’s huge effort over the weekend saw the Club take out both the State Championship title AND Handicap honours.
1st – Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club - 1295 points.
2nd - City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club - 1019 points
3rd - Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club - 802 points
4th - Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club - 728 points
5th - North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club - 507 points
Check out the full results to the carnival HERE
These events don’t happen without the support of many people. A big shout out to our State Championships Naming Rights Partner, Healthway, promoting the SunSmart message. Healthway have long been an important supporter of our Surf Sports program with the particularly relevant message of being SunSmart! Thanks also to the host of Officials, Referees and Announcers who did a great job over the weekend with long hours on the beach and, of course, to Trigg Island SLSC for hosting a fantastic event!
Check out some amazing race footage on our YouTube channel, as captured by our drone over the weekend!