The state’s top ironmen and women will go head-to-head in a battle for surf supremacy this weekend, when they line up at North Burleigh for an assault on the 2016 Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships (March 18-20).
The Championships, which kick off this Friday with the Masters competition, will see more than 1,500 athletes take on the surf, sand and each other across three days of action.
Some of the sport’s biggest names will be lining up to compete, including the likes of Shannon Eckstein, Ali Day, Courtney Hancock and Jordan Mercer.
Meanwhile, it will be a case of generations colliding when former ironman champions Grant Kenny and Trevor Hendy wind back to the clock to take on Queensland’s best.
Reigning ironwoman champion Bec Creedy will line up again for Northcliffe this year, and hopes to turnaround a disappointing season with another win in the blue-ribbon event.
“Every race I line up in I go out to do the best that I can and, I’d like to hope, that every time I do my best I’m capable of winning the race. Ultimately, every time I stand on that starting line, my goal is to win,” she said.
“If a win does come around this year, it would be most welcome. I’ve been a long way off the podium this year, so it’d be great to finish the season off on a high note.
“I certainly didn’t take the short route to becoming an ironwoman champion and I’ve had plenty of losses and setbacks along the way, and this year I’ve really had to toughen up and take it on the chin.
“But I think that’s what age teaches you – just because you’ve had a few bad races, you still need to stand on that start line, give it everything and not give up,” she said.
The championships this weekend represent the culmination of Queensland’s surf sport season and, for many competitors, it will be their last opportunity to build momentum and fine tune preparations ahead of the ‘Aussies’ on the Sunshine Coast in April.
Large surf conditions at last week’s Youth Championships, also at North Burleigh, prompted Surf Life Saving Queensland to shift and suspend events at various times across the weekend, but organisers are hopeful of avoiding a similar situation this weekend.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster James Thompson said conditions are looking good for the start of this weekend’s championships.
“Maximum temperatures will sit in the low-30s throughout the weekend, with the chance of the odd shower. On Saturday, we expect to see the winds pick up under the influence of a southerly change, which will contribute to more choppy conditions for the rest of the weekend,” he said.