Is there anything Jett Kenny can’t do? On top of being an Australian Champion, social media sweetheart, and really, really, really, ridiculously good looking…. He can now add gladiator to the list of things he’s achieved. But the third generation of Kenny Ironman Champions is no stranger to reality TV, between “The Full Monty”, Dancing with the Stars and SAS Australia he’s a veteran of the game..
But it got me thinking, he’s not the first Surf Sports star to crossover into “reality TV” and which is the most memorable?
SO I GIVE YOU, THE TOP TEN SURF SPORTS TV PERFORMANCES.
(Also, I’ve certainly forgotten someone, I’m sure there was a lot of Ironmen on Burkes Backyard in the 90s but I’m sorry, I’m sure it rated very well)
10. AUSTRALIA’S SPORTS STAR CHALLENGE – IRON VS ATHLETES.
6 of the best Surf athletes lined up against some of Australia’s best from other codes; it was an all star line up of Patrick Dangerfield, Kurt Gidley, Lewis Jetta, Simon Katich, Beau Ryan & Michelle Jenneke.
It was a great advert for the sport, especially seeing the footy boys struggle on the skis.
9. MATT BEVILACQUA – NINJA WARRIOR
The 2x Ironman Series Champion took on the ninja warrior course with the same gusto he attacks every surf race, and while he had no trouble with the bounding boulders it was the swing set that left the Tasmanian in the drink.
Rumour is, he begged for the footage to be destroyed, so all I could find is this photo.
8. THE RECRUIT – IRONWOMEN (not really) vs AFL Players
Summer of Surf cross promotion at its best! The show aimed to find the next big AFL superstar – so we sent down our best ladies to show them what real athletes look like. And despite a few beach sprinters being labelled as “Ironwomen” the ladies were a cut above; and I’m surprised a few AFLW contracts didn’t get signed after that one.
7. BIG BROTHER – KATIE AND MAX
I couldn’t imagine anything worse than being locked in a house for 3 months and Australia couldn’t be punished any worse than listening to me; but two brave clubby superstars lived under the microscope on Big Brother – AND in the same season.
Former Australian Beach Flags Champion Katie Williams and Cooli Gold Runner Up Max Beattie both entered the famous big brother mansion, and the clubbie world was watching.
6. THE ORIGINAL GLADIATOR – NITRO
Hayley Bateup was a superstar of the sport for over a decade, she dominated the Coolangatta Gold, winning 3 of the first 4 editions of the race in 05,06 & 08 as well as numerous Australian titles – but she really broke into the mainstream as the lightning bolt branded, bleach haired Nitro, in the reboot of the 90’s TV classic Gladiators.
As a rookie at the time, I didn’t know where Hayley ended and the character began, she was a real gladiator of our sport.
5. CANDICE WARNER ON SAS
After a few years out of the sport the former Iron Series round winner stormed back onto our TV’s on SAS Australia. Candice was tough, so she was always going to do well here; but the highlight was definitely Candy going “full Maroubra” on Roxy Jacenko in the one on one sparring challenge, ouch.
4. AUSTRALIA’S GREATEST ATHLETE – SHANNON’S ROBBED
The GOAT Shannon Eckstein (my article, my goat) finished runner up twice on Rexona’s Australia’s greatest athlete and I’m adamant he was robbed both times. Billy Slater managed to sneak home two seasons in a row in “controversial circumstances”. Either way, he took on the best in the business and only got bumped from top spot by the greatest fullback (and Rexona sponsored athlete) in Rugby League.
Luckily Shannon would never again be robbed in any close finishes. Especially not in Newcastle. Yep……
And a big shout out to Ky Hurst and Kenny Wallace who dominated the Jet Ski Racing events, big flex.
(Also sorry about the footage – it looks like it’s been filmed on a potato at some random’s house.)
3. DANCING WITH THE SURF STARS
Usually the best dancing clubbies can produce is around 2pm on Mad Monday but Caine Eckstein and Ky Hurst showed the world that they’ve got more moves than just nightclub Dfloor specials. They tangoed, cha cha’d and gave their ballroom best in front of the judges and didn’t disappoint.
2. DEEP WATER & TEST OF THE TOUGHEST
NOW Deep Water was meant to get second because this was actually about clubbies, but as I was writing, I realized it was literally just a “Test of the Toughest” reboot, and because I can’t find any youtube vids of the 90s classic, Deep Water gets the silver.
Anyway, the premise of both is you take the best ironmen in the world and challenge them in a bunch of different events across the world.
The best part of deep water is probably the blow ups between the events; and I always wanted to see the behind the scenes from Las Vegas, regardless it was good TV.
Was there ever going to be any other winner, this article was just an excuse for me to watch old Baywatch reruns…
It was the biggest show in the world, they had a slow motion training montage and Trev went head to head with Mitch Buchannan for the love of CJ Parker – what more could you ask for.
This was peak 90s and shout out to a couple of the boys who got recurring rolls on the show like Wollongong’s finest, Crowie….
There was only ever going to be one winner… enjoy.