WELCOME TO WANDA – A little slice of paradise on the south side of Sydney is the first stop in the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf this season and the perfect place to kick off our Surf Sports Dream tour.
If you want to know more about the wonderful world of Wanda, check out Allie Lyndon’s wrap here
There is 5,000 points up for grabs as well as a cash prize for each of the open events and the 6-person mixed Taplin Relay; but more importantly the winners this weekend will hit the top of the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf point score and take the early lead in the race for the overall titles.
We have a full-on old-school surf carnival happening at Wanda this weekend u8 – Masters, all kinds of events that usually don’t get contested outside Aussies and it will be an awesome carnival as it always is with over 1,200 competitors lining up.
And a huge shout out to the club for running surf events for athletes with a disability, it’s a very cool initiative that’s been going a few years and something we should all get behind.
All of the start lists are posted on LIVEHEATS under “SLSNSW Sydney – Wanda One Carnival 2023” and I’m going to make my predictions for the important stuff below.
Good luck if you’re racing and have fun if you’re not.
There are 2 Iron events on the day, with the traditional AND an M Shape enduro style race; only the traditional event will count for the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf 5,000 points so it’s the only one we will focus on.
This race, like all the women’s races at Wanda are wide open! The defending champ is the local Britt Pierce, she won this and then was basically unable to get involved over the rest of the summer. Expect her to be a lot better this year and go back-to-back. Good luck picking the minor placings.
FAVOURITE: Britt Pierce (Wanda)
CHANCES: The Newport girls (Harrison, Lefevre, Clues) and the Manly girls (Singleton & Garrett)
ROUGHIE: Nicole Sims (Warilla) – It’s good to see the former Ironwoman series regular from the mid 2000s back on the open start list. She’s a mum now and does some coaching in at Warilla; hopefully she will turn back the clock.
This is a tough one, because we have a few big boys coming off the Cooli Gold, a couple returning from the International Surf Rescue Challenge and a few preparing for the trial who we haven’t seen race yet, either way it’s a great mix to start the season.
Kenj Louis was in really good form at the Gold; has he recovered?? If he has, he wins. If he hasn’t then one of the Burleigh boys (Benny Carbs or Corey Fletcher) will pounce and take the 5000 points back home to QLD.
FAVOURITE: Kendrick Louis (Manly)
CHANCES: Ben Carberry & Corey Fletcher (Burleigh)
ROUGHIE: Noah Steiner (Wanda)
WOMENS SKI RACE
Similarly to the women’s board race, put them in a hat and pick a favourite. The first one of the seasons, is tough to pick at the best of times and Piper Harrison was the highest ranked last summer with a 7th overall, that’s as good a pick as any…. Sophie Walters should also go close in this one.
FAVOURITE: Piper Harrison (Newport)
CHANCES: Sophie Walters (Manly) Britt Pierce (Wanda)
ROUGHIE: Eliza Johnson (Swansea Belmont)
MEN’S SKI RACE
This race lacks the pure ski paddling headliners we love to see but is full of guys that are very very good on the lefts and rights.. Eloura’s Nathan Neale has consistently mixed it with the big boys on the big occasions; while Cronulla’s Cody Gaddes was 13th overall last summer but this might be one for the Ironmen with Benny Carbs looking at this one the same way he stares lovingly at a quiet Friday arvo schooner, it should be easy work.
FAVOURITE: Ben Carberry (BHMP)
CHANCES: Nath Neale (Eloura) Cody Gaddes (Cronulla) Ben Walker (North Bondi)
ROUGHIE: Charlie Verco (North Bondi)
WOMEN’S SURF RACE
The defending champion from Manly, Georgia Singleton returns to start her season after finishing 6th on the pointscore in the Surf Race, while teammate Ella Garrett is also on the start list who finished the summer ranked 9th overall. But it’s Burleigh’s Claudia Rose Slaven who looked good in the team’s event at the Cooli Gold and will be the one to beat if she can handle the cold water down south.
FAVOURITE: Claudia Rose Slaven (BHMP)
CHANCES: Georgia Singleton, Ella Garrett, Piper Harrison, Emily Maythers
ROUGHIE: Sarah Locke (Bulli)
MEN’S SURF RACE
Good field of old(ish) heads vs young guns – The Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Champion in Hayden Cotter must be the favourite but after seeing Kenj Louis swim at the gold it’s going to be a tight one. If you add into the mix the next generation of SOS stars in Conner Maggs, Noah Steiner (who won this last year) and Nathan Jay – this Surf Race could actually be interesting.
FAVOURITE: Hayden Cotter (Manly)
CHANCES: Kendrick Louis, Connor Magg, Noah Steiner, Ben Carberry, Nick Middleton, Nathan Jay and a couple of others.
ROUGHIE: Bailey Krvstevski (Warilla) favourite
WOMEN’S BOARD RACE
Georgia Singleton (Manly) and Piper Harrison (Newport) both finished in the top 10 overall for the board race last summer; but I think every season we have a new talent pop out of nowhere in women’s paddling and this one will be no different. There are at least 7 chances in this one, so it’s anyone’s guess.
FAVOURITE: Georgia Singleton (Manly)
CHANCES: Piper Harrison (Newport) Britt Peirce (Wanda) Ella Garrett (Manly)
ROUGHIE: Lani Waller (Redhead)
MEN’S BOARD RACE
Local lad, with the best name in Surf Sports, Cruz McKee is the highest ranked board paddler from last summer and the defending champ but with Burleigh speed demon Corey Fletcher and former Australian Champion Jay Furniss in the field as well, it’s going to be a tough one. Harry Stone will be getting it done for the laydown lads and Charlie Verco can produce when he is on, this will be a tight one.
FAVOURITE: Corey Fletcher (BHMP)
CHANCES: Jay Furniss (Cronulla) Cruz McKee(Nth Cronulla) Harry Stone (Manly) Charlie Verco (Nth Bondi)
ROUGHIE: Angus McPhail (Manly)
6 PERSON MIXED TAPLIN
A tough one to pick as none of the clubs would be at full strength. Newport are generally the favourites in NSW but I think Manly will be the ones to beat; While Louis and Cotter are the headliners, I actually think it’ll be the girls who get them across the line. Wanda will be close to the mark as well with their younger crew of boys. Will be a great race
CHANCES: Newport, Wanda, Redhead
T&C – all predictions done from the start lists I have, people will enter late and pull out, making some of these predictions completely pointless, but regardless, enjoy.