Largest Surf Craft Challenge in 20-years

Last Sunday’s Albany Surf Craft Challenge was the largest number of competitors in the competitions 20-year history.  (Navigator photografix)

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The Albany Surf Craft Challenge saw 250 competitors from all over the state compete over the long weekend in a 2-kilometre beach run or a 13-kilometre surf boat and surf ski course. 

Race Co-ordinator Nick Walker said Sunday was the largest field of competitors they’d ever seen in the events 20 year history.

“There was a genuine buzz of excitement in the air which you tend to get from travelling clubs who have a long tradition of coming down and enjoying the whole weekend,” he said.

“There was also extra enthusiasm from skipping 2020’s event due to COVID-19 and there was a great mix of both young competitors and experienced heads.”

In the 13-kilometre race there were 36 boats that participated, 38 single skis and seven double skis.

The course started from the Albany Entertainment Centre and finished in front of the Albany Surf Life Saving Club (ASLSC) in Ellen Cove.

The only Albany competitors to walk away with gold were Beth Hearle for achieving an impressive one hour, 17 minute and 27 second time in the over 55’s women’s ski division and Liesel Freebury for her nine minute and 53 second beach run in the under 13’s girls division. 

In the open men’s surf boat division, the ASLSC’s Special Boat Squad came in third with a time of one hour, six minutes and 25 seconds, only a minute behind the Freo Kingswoods from Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club.

In the women’s surf boat division the ASLSC’s Fat Gannets team took third place not far behind the Scarboro Storm, crossing the finish line at one hour, 11 minutes and four seconds. 

Nick Walker walked away with third place in the ski open men’s division with the fastest time for Albany competitors in the 13-kilometre course at 59 minutes and 58 seconds. 

Surf Life Saving clubs from Perth, Geraldton and Bunbury travelled down for the competition, where participants were able to kick back and enjoy live music at the ASLSC after the races.

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