Ours is a participant sport and you don’t like to focus on the elite stars but Ky Hurst’s effort in the Dash for Cash at Burleigh on Sunday October 23 was outstanding – real old-time, surf club wading skills stuff.
The four-time Australian ironman champion looked well beaten as the field hit the shallows. The Grimsey boys seemed to have put too big a gap on him. But from there everything went right for the London-bound Hurst. It was a long and seriously treacherous wade with the bottom cut into deep pot holes and a deeper section right at the water’s edge. Then there was quite an incline up to the soft sand where a slight stumble robbed Trent Grimsey of his momentum in the soft sand and Hurst powered past to an unlikely win. It was a surf skills event with that murderous finish. With his win in the 2km and second to Grimsey in the 1km, Hurst had a good day.
The long wade and run to the finish line didn’t seem to worry most of the regular punters. We just tip-toed through the pot holes and strolled up to the timing mats. The bottom has been cut up Burleigh for a while now and some of coach Wes Berg’s surf squad have come to grief during their training sessions. Old folks can’t run through it. It’s okay for the kids if they step in a hole. They tend to bounce. We tend to break.
Melissa Gorman put in a tongue-in-cheek protest on behalf of the pool swimmers but the Burleigh guys were having none of it. Protest dismissed.
Burleigh surf club stuck to their early 7am start which caused a few grumbles. But most of the time you will always get better conditions earlier in the morning. And it was true here. For the 2km event, which started nearly on time, it was beautiful smooth swimming and brilliantly clear water. But an hour or so later, for the 1km, the wind was stronger and had started to stir up the surface.
Not as bad as the Coolangatta swim on September 25 but you get the picture.
It was one of those perfect days with a light southerly early. Which was lucky because there was the odd bluey reported at North Burleigh and a lot further up the coast. There was a small shore break, just big enough to have you in two minds about weather to dive over or under the waves. A slight northerly sweep through the gutter took some people off course and then the outside break depended on weather you were hit by a set or got through on a lull. This is perfect ocean swimming – just a bit of a wave but nothing dangerous. It’s just enough that if you do all the surf stuff properly, you’ll get a bit of a jump on the field.
We were in competition with the Gold Coast 600 car race on the Sunday but I don’t think the petrol heads affected the chlorine heads too much. And if you are both, there was plenty of time to get home and watch the race on television. There looked to be just over 400 entries which may not be quite as many as last year but still plenty of encouragement for the Burleigh club to persist with the event.
Things now dry up a bit for Queensland ocean swims. Some folks are doing a swim leg in next weekend’s Noosa Tri and then Killer has his big day at Murwillumbah on November 27. I’ve become a Murwillumbah regular now. It’s a bit hard to explain the attraction. The water is never really clear and the town’s half asleep and Tomahawks seem to have split. But that eucalyptus-scented water takes me back to swimming in water holes as a kid and with these smaller swims, you feel like if you don’t turn up, it might all be over. And there is the Killer factor. You can be guaranteed of the odd Killer clanger once he gets his mits on the microphone. You can sort of see it in the faces of the locals. Here he goes on the microphone again. What’s he going to come up with this time. They all love him down there. It’s worth going down just for that.