Australian Surf Life Saving Masters 2023: Stars, results and best photos from Day 1
A former Olympic rower, two past iron stars and a record-breaking veteran were among the stars of day one of Australia’s Surf Life Saving Masters. Top guns and top shots.
More than 1200 Masters competitors converged on Scarborough Beach in Perth for the opening day of their competition.
This followed two days of youth races that opened the nine-day surf lifesaving event.
Athletes from across the country, aged 30 to 81, competed for the first Australian titles of 2023.
And in addition to many old faces, there were also some new ones.
Olympic rower in Sydney and Athens Julia bell from Manly claimed a gold double in the debut in the female 40-44 board and 40-44 ski events.
The Nippers mother said she got jealous watching her kids in the surf and decided to try her hand at saving surfers’ lives.
“I’ve decided to pick it up, study on my own, and I really love it,” she said.
“I still have that competitive spirit. I used to be a competitive rower and cyclist, I was at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. I don’t think you lose that competitive spirit and it’s nice to channel it into something else.”
Northcliffes Stephen Fry celebrated his 40th Aussies by winning the 65-69 Surf Race and hopes for more success with a long list of events to contest.
“I have surf teams, taplin relays and board relays coming up,” he said.
“Team races are the best because you’re cheering for each other and it’s great to be in that environment with teammates.”
Former Iron Master Naantali MarshalI pulled off an impressive trifecta for their Anglesea club on Monday by winning the 45-49 board and ski and 41-50 surf races.
“I do Aussie Masters every four or five years but I really enjoy it every time,” she said.
“I still do the state titles every year … and now my daughter is old enough to race with Aussies, so I don’t really have an excuse not to race.”
Multiple Nutri-Grain Ironman Champion Darren Mercer was back on the podium, winning a bronze medal in the 50-54 board race.
Mercer, who grew up in Wollongong and now lives in Noosa, said he likes racing but not always the feeling that comes with it.
“I still enjoy it immensely, but I no longer enjoy the pain that unfortunately comes with it these days,” he said.
“When you get into this Masters class, it’s all about having fun.
“There are some serious ones in there, but it’s mostly catching up, racing a little bit, remembering a little bit when…”
Territorial Legend Paul Lemon achieved the extraordinary feat of winning his 110th gold medal in Australian surf lifesaving titles with his 14th consecutive win in the surf race.
Lemmon now has four gold medals at the event with victories in the 2K Beach Run, Ironman and Board Race.
“It gets harder and harder every year. I’m new to this age group so I had a little edge over some of these older guys, but I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be up here with 14 straight wins,” Lemmon said after the surf race.
Wanda paddler Mick Georgaris won a special 40-44 individual ski race and will also compete in open competition later this week.
It was an emotional victory for the Sydney competitor, who dedicated it to his late father.
“My old man was an important part of the surf club for 50 years. He died two and a half years ago. I’m just carrying on his legacy.”
Georgaris beat Stocktons Glen Bernard and the city of Perth Travis England.
Trigg Island racer and former surf ski world champion Dan Humble took gold in the 35-39 surf ski race.
He used the event to prepare for his attack on Ski later that week.
“I got in late because I was concentrating on the openings with the club. But I couldn’t help it and it’s always a tough race here in the Masters, so I’m happy to cross the finish line,” he said.
Former Olympian JImmy Walker cheered himself up for his bid for the Open Surf Ski title with a great win in the 50-54 ski race at Masters.;
Walker was left stumped when he saved surfing life at the prestigious open ski event in Aussies last year when he fell narrowly off the podium.
“I train really hard but nothing beats gunfire and that’s what I was all about today,” said Walker.
HaydenSmith of Terrigal claimed a trifecta of gold medals, winning the 40-44 iron, board and swim events.
“To be honest I think I got the result because of the guys I train with every day,” he said. “We push and test each day in training and that’s probably what you need to get to the top.”
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Originally posted as Australian Surf Life Saving Masters 2023: Stars, Results & Best Photos of Day 1
https://www.codesports.com.au/sport/australian-surf-life-saving-masters-2023-stars-results-and-best-photos-from-day-1/news-story/170fd90717eab8b0f04ddd87b7270c66?nk=e634787b826351b5ab34342f0e777450-1679942343 Australian Surf Life Saving Masters 2023: Stars, results and best photos from Day 1