Masters bashed by surf conditions
BUNDABERG'S masters competitors were pummelled in some testing conditions at Kurrawa yesterday, but they travelled to the Gold Coast expecting nothing less.
Typically messy waves reached heights of more than 2m — though it probably looked more like 5m swell from the seat of Bundaberg’s masters surf boat.
For all the crash and bash, only a few locals emerged with a state championships podium position to their name.
Bundaberg SLSC member Gary Ryan was perhaps the smartest of the lot, sticking to the sand and collecting a second in the 30-34 years sprint and third in the flags race.
The experienced Craig Holden, of Elliott Heads, managed to tough out the fierce seas and take third place in the 35-39 ironman.
Cameron Duffy, Jeffry Williamson and Scott Collins, of Bundaberg, claimed bronze in the surf ski relay, before Duffy and Collins repeated the effort in the double ski.
Duffy capped a brilliant day at the beach with third in the 35-39 surf ski.
The combined efforts of the local life savers were admirable, given the foreign conditions they faced and the world-class fields they were up against.
“You can’t set your sights too high at this level when you have former ironman champions like Brad Stokes to compete with,” Holden said.
“It was a rough day, very messy and pretty big, so that’s always going to be difficult to encounter coming from Bundaberg.”
Holden still managed to smile after a day that clearly got the better of him.
“I suppose it’s fun in the end, but it was one of those days where the more you go out, the more chance you have of getting drilled,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone escaped without getting hammered at least once during the day.”
Two men could vouch for that, needing to be rescued by lifesavers during the 40-44 years double ski event.
Holden will return today in the open competition, while a strong contingent of juniors will brave the conditions.
Brayden Batt, Bianka Dexter, Katherine Lawn, Jesse Hawkes, Jamie Findlay and Bonnie Stehbens are among the medal chances, as is the under-15 Bundaberg R and R team.