Senior competitors still masters of the surf

Ironman legend Grant Kenny turned back the clock at today’s Queensland Surf Life Saving Masters Championships at North Kirra on the Gold Coast.

The former Australian champion proved he was still a force to be reckoned with, taking out the 50-54 years ironman final and the double ski, while placing second in the surf ski.

While Kenny was wrapped with his performance, he freely admitted that competing was more about enjoyment than winning these days.

“It’s funny, you come along and everybody’s relaxed and enjoying themselves but we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have some competition still in the belly. But half the time we’re going around just to get through the day so we can go and have a beer together afterwards,” he said.

“Now that I’m semi-retired I’ve got a bit more time and I love to take the opportunity to go and train with my son and some of the other crew still around. But I’ve got other things going on in my life and, at this age, you go when you can and sometimes there’s a significant lack of consistency in training.

“I might have a full-on week and then do nothing for a month, which can be a little hard. But that’s just evidence of how seriously I take it – which is not very!

“But in all seriousness, you don’t go to a start line not wanting to beat somebody, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the race. So whether you’re coming second last or second, you’re still trying to beat whoever’s in front of you,” he said.

The Masters competition saw almost 500 athletes aged from over 30 through to over 70 battle it out for state glory across the full suite of beach and surf events.

In the overall stakes, it was Gold Coast’s Northcliffe who took out the Masters Championships on 370 points ahead of Sunshine Coast rivals Noosa Heads (363 points) and Mooloolaba (347 points). Alexandra Headlands and Surfers Paradise rounded out the top five.

In other individual results, North Burleigh’s Neville de Mestre took out the 70+ ironman, surf race and surf rescue, Alexandra Headland’s Desmond Parkes claimed gold in the 70+ open surf ski and Mooloolaba’s Judy Rowland-Smith won the female 65-69 years 1km beach run.

Evergreen beach sprinter Simon Harris added more gold to his already-impressive trophy cabinet with a strong win in the 35-39 years beach flags.

The multiple state, national and world beach flags champion will be on the hunt for another title this weekend when he lines up in the open competition.

“I’ve had a couple of injuries this year – I’ve only done two races and got injured both times, so I thought I’d better have a run in the masters and get a bit of race practice under my belt before Sunday. Everyone’s going to be here on Sunday, so it will be a real good hit out and it’ll be interesting to see where I’m at,” Simon said.

The action continues tomorrow morning when some of the biggest names hit Kirra Beach for the first time this Championships including Shannon Eckstein, Ky Hurst, Matt Poole, Courtney Hancock, Liz Pluimers and Jordan Mercer.

As the pinnacle sporting event on Queensland’s lifesaving calendar, the 2014 Queensland Surf Life Saving Championships will see more than 2,000 masters and senior athletes line up across three days of competition (March 7-9) as they battle the surf, sand and each other in their quest for glory.

1. Northcliffe SLSC

2. Noosa Heads SLSC

3. Mooloolaba SLSC

4. Alexandra Headland SLSC

5. Surfers Paradise SLSC

6. Byron Bay SLSC

7. Coolangatta SLSC

8. North Burleigh SLSC

9. Kurrawa SLSC

10. Currumbin SLSC

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