The 2013 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships concluded on Sunday following five days of exciting racing at the popular North Kirra and Tugun SLSC on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
More than 10,000 surf enthusiasts entered the iconic event, with London Olympic K4 gold medallists Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear, and Telstra Ironwoman Series runner up Naomi Flood headlining this year’s event.
Australia’s top flatwater stars and up and comers dominated the open and junior surf ski and taplin relay events, with Flood and emerging sprint star Lachlan Tame winning the single ski open events.
Representing Avoca Beach, Tame took out his third consecutive men’s single surf ski final, creating his own piece of history and firmly stamping his name as the number one surf ski paddler in the country.
K4 skipper Tate Smith finished third representing Northcliffe, while Trigg Island paddler Reece Baker finished fourth, one spot lower than his third place finish in 2012.
Gold Coast housemates Bill Bain and Jordan Wood finished second and sixth respectively in the U19 Single surf ski final, while youngster Riley Fitzsimons followed on from Tame’s inspiring display to take out the U17 Single surf ski event, capping off a great day’s racing for the Avoca Beach SLSC.
Fitzsimons finished ahead of Alexandra Headland paddler Jy Duffy and Burnie’s Alex Duggan.
Fitzsimons recorded a second victory in the U17 Taplin Relay final, while he finished second in the U17 surf board.
After finishing fourth in the single ski, Baker combined with fellow Western Australian’s Brendon Sarson and Daniel Humble to take out the men’s single ski relay event ahead of the Northcliffe A crew of Tate Smith and Murray Stewart.
Tame finished third, while Michael Booth and Joel Simpson (both Northcliffe), Norton brothers Sam and Tom (Burnie) and Tugun’s Ken Wallace finished fourth, fifth and eighth respectively.
Mooloolaba duo Bill Bain and Nicholas Bolton combined for victory in the men’s double ski final, with Smith and Stewart once again having to settle for second place, with Simpson finishing third ahead of Trigg Island’s Brodie Holmes and Tame.
It was a great day for Bain who also took out the U19 single ski relay event ahead of Newport’s Peter Euers, who also finished second in the U19 Taplin relay, with Currumbin’s Joel McKitterick finishing fourth.
Bain showcased his full array of surf skills finishing second behind Smith and Stewart in the Open Taplin Relay, while he recorded a fourth place finish in the U19 Ironman event.
26 year old Flood dominated the women’s ski events as expected with victories in the single ski, double ski and single ski relay women’s open finals.
Flood held off Trigg Island’s Alana Nicholls in the single ski, with Maroochydore’s Alyce Burnett finishing third, with Northcliffe’s Hannah Davis two spots further back.
Flood combined with experienced Manly duo Candice Falzon and Devon Haligan for victory in the relay final, with Mooloolaba U23 paddlers Kirsty Higgison and Coco Howcroft finishing third, while Davis and Bernadette Wallace of Northcliffe finished ninth.
Flood completed a hat-trick of victories in the double ski event ahead of City of Perth duo Shannon Reynolds and Phoebe George, who will be proud of the efforts, continuing their excellent starts to the year after securing spots in the Australian Canoeing Sprint Junior team.
U23 sprint paddler Coco Howcroft won silver in the U19 female ski final, while she also impressed finishing third in the Open Taplin relay final, with Bernadette Wallace finishing fourth.
Finally, Alexandra Headland paddler Alyssa Bull showed her adaptability in the surf with victories in the U17 Surfboard and single surf ski final, whilst she also recorded a fifth place finish in the U17 Ironwoman.
Some of Australia’s canoe sprint stars will shortly depart for Europe with Wallace siblings, Ken and Bernadette, Naomi Flood and Jo Brigden-Jones all set to depart over the coming fortnight to prepare ahead of the World Cups.
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