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Local club celebrates relay wins on wild final day of The Aussies

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The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships came to a thrilling conclusion at Maroochydore during the weekend, when the best athletes came to the fore in testing conditions.

The nine-day event, dubbed ‘The Aussies’, finished with a flourish of finals amid choppy surf, strong wind and heavy rain.

Local club Alexandra Headland had plenty to celebrate in its centenary year, with its women’s Taplin relay team and its mixed Taplin relay team.

Olympic hopeful Lani Pallister, who recently won the 1500m freestyle at the Australian Swimming Championships, teamed up with good friends Tayla Halliday and Emma Woods to win the women’s event.

“These girls have my heart. I’ve known them since we were seven years old,” she said.

“It’s great to be part of such a special club in their 100th year. Alex is so incredible, it’s my forever home.”

Lana Rogers won the Ironwoman final.

Northcliffe competitor Lana Rogers, who forged her skills at Noosa, won the Ironwoman title.

She finished ahead of clubmate Georgia Miller and hometown favourite Tiarnee Massie, from Maroochydore SLSC.

“Going in to the race I just wanted to have some fun,” she said.

“I have had such an amazing season, and I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself to do this and make it happen and I just wanted to have fun with it.”

Daniel Collins was victorious in the Ironman final.

Newcastle lifeguard Daniel Collins won the coveted Ironman. He finished ahead of Manly’s Kendrick Louis and Newport’s Charlie Verco,

“Super tricky (conditions) out there,” he said.

“I know that the result has always been there but it’s about executing that perfect race. I’m super stoked to have done it today and put it all together for an Aussie title.”

Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park who took out their first ever open male Taplin relay.

There was some rough surf on a rainy final day of competition.

In beach sprints at Mooloolaba, Currumbin’s Elizabeth Forsyth made it six open flag titles while Shogo Horie from Katsuura Life Saving Club in Japan won the open men’s flag event.

A crew from Maroochydore won the open female surf boats event at Alexandra Headland.

The Maroochydore CHUMS finished ahead of Mooloolaba Chop Suey and Port Kembla.

Sweep Michael Brooks praised the team.

“Opens is always the pinnacle of sport. This is unbelievable I am so proud of them and happy for them,” he said.

“We have had two years’ worth of injury, so this is awesome”.

The Aussies was held at Maroochydore (surf events), Alexandra Headland (surf boats, lifesaving), Mooloolaba (beach events) and Coolum (boardriding).

It attracted more than 8000 competitors from 222 clubs and provided an economic boost to the region.

The open mixed double ski event, held late last week. Picture: SLSA.

Councillor Joe Natoli said he was delighted to have the championships back for the fifth time.

“World-class titles like this help cement the Sunshine Coast as a premier destination for major events, provide a rare opportunity for local athletes to compete against the best on home sand, and residents to enjoy a great spectacle,” he said.

“This event is also a significant boost to our local economy, delivering an economic contribution of almost $15 million.”

Meanwhile, Surf Life Saving Australia announced that The Aussies will return to the Gold Coast next year. The event will be held at North Kirra and Tugun Surf Life Saving Clubs, from March 29 to April 6.

The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships is supported by Experience Gold Coast and the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.

See the full results here.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.
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