Iron Man Shannon Eckstein gets some board coaching in with junior Bonnie Stebhens and nipper, Kiraly Groom.
Iron Man Shannon Eckstein gets some board coaching in with junior Bonnie Stebhens and nipper, Kiraly Groom. Rob Barich

Champion advice from Eckstein

HE may be the best in the world, but Ironman Shannon Eckstein still has time for the little people.

During his first day in Bundaberg Monday, the World Champion Ironman spent more than 20 minutes fielding questions from a room of young lifeguards who gathered to take a masterclass in beach sport.

From nippers to seniors, from as far away as Emu Park and Yeppoon, more than 70 lifesavers signed up to attend the Surf Life Saving Queensland-run skills and training camp at Bargara this week.

Eckstein, the reigning world champion, arrived Monday morning to guide the young stars through the drills they need to practice to become a champion.

During the lunch-break, Eckstein fielded questions from the curious youngsters as they queried him on everything from his career highlights, to his diet, his training habits and his run-ins with sharks and broken big surf.

“These clinics are great because it's not just about becoming a high performance athlete, it's also about ensuring our members from across Queensland have access to people with the experience and knowledge to help further their abilities,” he said.

It was the second year Eckstein has come to Bundaberg to take the camp.

Moore Park Beach Surf Club junior Bonnie Stehbens said it was a great opportunity to learn from the sport's best.

“He's sort of like the hero or the idol, or whatever you want to call it - he's the one people want to be,” she said.

SLSQ Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden said the clinics were an important part of fostering athlete development in regional areas.

“Over the past few seasons, SLSQ has had a renewed focus on regional sport, aiming to develop athletes of all levels - from the stars of the future, to participants who enjoy competing and just want to further develop their skills,” he said.

Eckstein will remain in Bundaberg today for the second part of his training camp with local stars Riley McGregor and Tenielle Dunkley, who are part of the SLSQ Elite Performance squad, also passing on a few tips to the youngsters.



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