It has got to be the event of the year!!!!
Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf IN THE GONG…
(Well its not quite the Gong, but you all get it)
The SOS first trip back down South for a few seasons and what a place to go, Bulli Beach – home of some of Surf Sports greats –, Drew Cairncross, Matt Freeman, Wes Berg, Beau Wheeler, Lilli & Greg Miller and even the golden child of the Minogue household! Regardless, surf sports has a rich history in the area and so does the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf – check out below the last time we went to Thirroul (the next beach north) lets pray for surf like this.
WHAT TO DO IN THE GONG….
While you’re in beautiful Wollongong, make sure you check out some of the sights and establishments the area has to offer, including:
- Drive down the Grand Pacific Drive and the Sea Cliff Bridge (and stop at any of the amazing pubs along the way including the Scarborough Hotel, Headlands or the Ryans)
- Walk the escarpment (the cliff up the back)
- Obviously Bulli surfy is your first stop for a feed but the Bulli Beach Café and Ruby’s in the tourist park are great options on race day as well as well as heading into The Gong for Chickos – best Chicken Burgers in Aus.
- Keep heading South to the Kiama blow hole – home to Ali Day
For more info – check out Visit Wollongong
Lets get down to the serious stuff and take a look at the competition for the second Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf event for the season.
This event doubles as the third round of the famous Sydney Water Surf Series, so expect plenty of competition from the locals – and some interstate competitors kickstarting their season after the Ironseries trial.
5,000 points will be up for grabs in each event, plus $100 cash prizes on each individual event and $250 for the irons.
Juniors will race Saturday and Seniors will kick off 8.30am Sunday the 19th November and working toward a 12.15pm finals package.
This is going to be the only one of two 5000-point event that’s livestreamed all summer; so a massive shout out to the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf & Destination Wollongong team for bringing the action right to our TV screens.
Check out all the finals package action from 12.15pm (NSW Time) on the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Facebook page this Sunday 19th November.
CONDITIONS It’s an interesting forecast for Bulli this weekend with about 2.5m of south swell predicted early on Friday morning but that’s expected to slowly fade to 1.6m by Sunday. But that’ll certainly make it interesting.
That swell is being pushed in from the moderate southerlies that’ll blow all week, that’s expected to swing around Sunday morning for the NorEaster that is a summer trademark down south.
Low tide is at 5.49am with high at 12.26 of 1.7m
All results can be found on LIVEHEATS under “SLSNSW – Illawarra”
And if you’re interested in my tipping record; last round at Wanda in the 9 events, I had 2 “roughie” winners, 6 of my “chances” taking out races, and only Kenj Louis winning the ski I missed completely.
So all up 8 out of 9 is not a bad start but I think I’ll hit my straps this week.
Last summer’s Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Ironwoman Series runner up Lizzie Welborn (Newport) makes her season debut in Bulli to blow out the cobwebs before Alexandra Headland – she looked unbeatable to start last summer but faded a bit late – not having to trial will help her this year so this weekend might be more about shaking the rust off. Aus u19 Ironwoman Champ Lily O’Sullivan (BHMP) leads the rest of the field here – this might be O’Sullivan’s year to push for an overall podium if she continues her rise, but only time will tell.
FAVOURITE: Lizzie Welborn – The queen of NSW will be looking to dominate down south.
CHANCES: Lily O’Sullivan, Piper Harrison (Newport) Kirstie Hardstaff (BHMP)
ROUGHIE: Lani Waller (Redhead)
The current Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf series leader Ben Carberry headlines a very strong field in the Men’s Iron after his win at Wanda – Newport trio Borg, Brooks and Maggs will be riding high after a strong Iron Series trial – while Noah Steiner and Hayden Cotter will have the fire in the belly after a disappointing weekend. Will be a tight one, but if there is some swell and wind you know what they say – “strength beats speed in swell”
FAVOURITE: Ben Carberry – I didn’t pick him at Wanda – I’m not making the same mistake twice.
CHANCES: Jackson Borg, Corey Fletcher, Conner Maggs, Charlie Brooks
ROUGHIE: Noah Steiner – If I had to bet on a young gun having a long and successful career as an Ironman, its Steiner. Has done it a little tougher than a couple of rivals his generation (think Parish, Morris, Maggs & others) but that’s what I think will make the long-term difference.
Who doesn’t love an outsider, Eliza Johnson (Swansea) took out Wanda in a tough one, and this will be a step up again. Experience will play a role if it’s a bit bigger by the time the final starts so I am going to go with Kirstie Hardstaff after a strong paddle in the Cooli Gold teams event a fwew weeks back, so this might be very well suited for her.
FAVOURITE: Hardstaff – but I could be waaaaaayyyy off on this one.
CHANCES: O’Sullivan, Johnson, Harrison, Welborn, Garrett.
ROUGHIE: Analise Kibble – has started the season well, finished 14th overall in the ski series last summer. She’s a shot.
Ski Races are always tough to pick early in the summer. Most ski paddlers are focusing on downwind racing at the moment OR they just starting their build in training and won’t be in good form – either way, it’s rare they show up before Christmas.
It’s always a safe bet to back an Ironman who has done the work over winter – so I’ll do that here.
FAVOURITE: Ben Carberry – he is big and strong and has great skills on the ski – deadly combo – he is the favourite.
CHANCES: the entire field – it’s too wide open.
ROUGHIE: Vukasin Vujanic (Eloura) great name and 5th at Wanda – enough for me.
WOMEN’S SURF RACE
A second roughie pick in as many races from Wanda with Sarah Locke taking out the swim; and she will be looking to repeat at home on Sunday but this is going to be a much tougher ask with the QLDers from Burleigh making the trip South again.
Lily O’Sullivan was second in the u19 Surf Race at Aussies and Locke was 3rd, so can home beach advantage be the difference?
FAVOURITE: Split O’Sullivan and Locke! Good Luck.
CHANCES: Claudia Rose Slaven (BHMP) Lani Waller (Redhead), Ashleigh Windsham (North Curl Curl)
ROUGHIE: Pipi Te Pania (Newport) is an absolute gun, but is only u17 – she will win plenty but maybe not yet.
MEN’S SURF RACE
This one is another tight race to pick, Conner Maggs leads the overall series, but last summer’s champion Hayden Cotter is in the field – after a tough weekend at Tugun, Cotter will either be fired up or completely over it – only time will tell. I think Maggs is the favourite on-form, but consistency is key in the Surf Race if you want to win a title.
FAVOURITE: Conner Maggs (Newport)
CHANCES: Hayden Cotter, Nick Middleton, and if there is a wave on, everyone else.
ROUGHIE: Bailey Krstevski (Warilla) – Local lad, 2nd in the u19 Surf Race at Aussies – he is a shot.
After winning the Wanda 5000 event I made the claim Georgia Singleton (Manly) was the most underrated board paddler in the country – we will get to test that claim this weekend when she lines up with the most consistently phenomenal board paddler of the last 10years, Lizzie Welborn. Welborn won 3 of the opening 4 rounds on the board last summer, so she has to be the red-hot favourite.
FAVOURITE: Lizzie Welborn – expect Lizzie to do Lizzie things.
CHANCES: Georgia Singleton, Analise Kibble (Newport) Lily O’Sullivan
ROUGHIE: Ashleigh Windsham (Nth Curl Curl) – not a real roughie after finishing second at Wanda in the board, but this is certainly a step up in class, so it should be tougher.
I don’t know why everyone was surprised Conner Maggs won the board to open the Summer at Wanda but a few people were – It’s a scary thought when a 17yr old is dominating whatever he does and looks like he’s taking it as seriously as a nipper Sunday. The future is bright for Maggs but it’s still a long road to the top, and its Burleigh’s Corey Fletcher standing in the way on this one.
FAVOURITE: Still Fletcher – he will be the favourite of a lot of board races this summer, no slight on Maggs though.
CHANCES: Conner Maggs, Harrison Stone (Manly) Jay Furniss (Cronulla) Charlie Verco (Newport)
ROUGHIE: Justin McMorland (Redhead) – Its rude to call an Aus medallist an outsider but its early in the season. Although we would love to see him take this one.
Good luck to all, have fun and enjoy my hometown and I’ll be back with a wrap of the results next week.