It will literally be on for young and old next month when some of the state’s top beach and ocean athletes converge on Maroochydore Beach on the Sunshine Coast across two weekends for Surf Life Saving Queensland’s (SLSQ) Youth, Senior and Masters State Championships.
The pinnacle sporting events on SLSQ’s calendar will see almost 4,000 surf lifesavers aged from under 11 through to over 70 put their fitness, skill and determination to the ultimate test in their quest for glory.
The competition kicks off on Friday March 20 with the Queensland Youth Championships, which will see more than 1,500 nippers hit the surf and sand across three days of racing.
The action continues the following weekend with the Masters competition on March 27, before Queensland’s premier ironmen and ironwomen take centre stage at the Senior State Championships across two days on March 28-29.
The Championships represent the culmination of Queensland’s surf sport season and, for many competitors, will be their last opportunity to build momentum and fine tune preparations ahead of the Australian Championships on the Gold Coast in April.
SLSQ sports manager Stuart Hogben is tipping some fierce battles over both weekends, particularly when it comes to the blue-ribbon open ironman and ironwoman events.
“Every year the State Championships brings thousands of competitors together in the name of lifesaving and mateship; but don’t get me wrong, once they pull on their respective club colours there’s definitely no holding back. It’s literally mate against mate and club against club out there and no one’s willing to give an inch when there’s a state title up for grabs,” Mr Hogben said.
“It’s a really exciting time for our sport in Queensland. We’ve got legends like Shannon Eckstein, Ky Hurst and Kristyl Smith still running around and performing well, but we’ve also got a core group of younger athletes like Ali Day, Matt Poole and Jordan Mercer all making their mark as well.
“As we’ve seen in previous years, anything could happen come race day,” he said.
Mr Hogben urged people to come out and support their favourite competitors over the course of the Championships.
“There’ll be an incredible amount of talent lining up over the course of the Championships, so it’s a great opportunity for everyone to get down and check out their favourite competitors,” he said.