Olympians Bull and Fitzsimmons Take Home Surf Ski Titles at Lifesaving World Championships

Golden birthday weekend for Alyssa Bull

Paddle Australia’s sprint paddlers and Rio 2016 Olympians Alyssa Bull (QLD) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) have won the women’s and men’s World Surf Ski titles in the World Inter-Club Open Ocean events at the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships in Glenelg, Adelaide over the weekend.

With a large number of Australian Paddle Team athletes having started their career in surf life saving, the now sprint kayakers enjoyed a hit-out in the ocean before starting their 2018/19 Olympic kayak season at the Grand Prix 1 at West Lakes in Adelaide next weekend (7-9 December 2018).

Alyssa Bull kicked-off the medal series for Paddle Australia’s paddlers by winning the Open Women’s Single Ski final on Friday and giving herself an early birthday present on her last day as a 22-year old. In a red-hot field Paddle Australia’s dual Olympian and Australia’s greatest ever-female ski paddler Naomi Flood (Northcliffe) had an exciting comeback finishing second after a late entry with Georgia Laird (Northcliffe) in third.

 

“I was really stoked to come away with the win. Coming back to surf racing is the fun side of my sport career now, so it’s been great to get out there. The race was good, long and flat conditions, a kayaker’s dream. But all the girls are paddling so fast and I didn’t expect to win. I was just glad to be on the beach and having a good time in between work,” Bull said.

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games only 19 months away, the team is on a tight training regime and with Bull juggling her work as a fire fighter and training there is not much time for anything else.

“We train on a full kayak program, so with paddling, gym and the odd cross train session it doesn’t leave much time or energy for ski paddling. Anna (Wood, coach) let us race this weekend, but we couldn’t skip any of the key sessions in training this week as kayak races start next weekend. But it’s lucky they are so closely related and we need to make sure we keep up our surf skills,” Bull said about the opportunity to get out in the surf ski.

“Juggling work as a full time fire fighter makes it also more difficult. I have 3:45am starts for my two-day shifts to be able to train before starting work in Brisbane at seven in the morning. Then I have two night shifts, which means I travel from Brissy straight to Pizzey to train late in the morning and back early in the afternoon to train before going back to work. Lucky I get four days off in between,” Bull described her busy schedule.

Competing for Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club and contesting the surf ski leg, Bull also teamed up with club mates Lani Pallister (swim), Olivia Heaton (board) and Tiarrn Raymond (run) to win the oceanwoman relay. She made it triple gold when she also won the mixed ocean lifesaver relay.

Fellow Olympian Alyce Burnett (QLD, Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club) finished fifth in the women’s surf ski and sixth in the oceanwoman relay together with her club mates and 2018 U23 canoe sprint team paddler Brianna Massie and Junior team paddler Tiarnee Massie.

In other Australian Paddle Team open women results, 2018 women’s K4 team paddler Jaime Roberts finished seventh (WA/Newport Surf Life Saving Club) and Brianna Massie (Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club) 13th in the open surf ski. In the open relay, 2018 U23 Junior team paddler Mackenzie Duffy (Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club) finished second and Jaime Roberts fifth.

In the Interclub teams open Surfski men’s competition, Rio 2016 Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW/Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club) took home the World Surf Ski title in a very strong field and despite very little preparation. Currumbin’s Ben Carberry finished second, while Paddle Australia’s 2017 U23 Ocean Racing World Championships silver medallist Mackenzie Hynard won bronze.

“These days the kayaks are the priority. I got down to Adelaide a few days before racing so I was doing a few sessions in the ski to get used to it again. I definitely thought I had a good shot at being in the top five or so, but the field was so strong and it was pretty hard even in the heats and semi finals,” Fitzsimmons said about the competition.

“I am super happy with how the race went. I had a plan going into it and everyone knew that with the conditions whoever was first to the cans was going to be very hard to beat on the way in,” Fitzsimmons said about the final.

“All of us kayakers started out in Surf Lifesaving so we always love going and having a race. It’s also nice to give back to our surf clubs. I know I definitely wouldn’t have gone to the Olympics without the help of Avoca Surf Lifesaving Club.”

Fitzsimmons has been back in training for the sprint kayak season for the last month after a short break following the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships at the end of August and will join the Olympic sprint action in the new year.

“I’ve been back training for about four weeks now and I want to get some solid training down before Christmas, so I’m ready to go for the first few races in the new year.”

2018 Australian Junior team representative Harry Armstrong also made waves finishing third in the men’s Interclub Teams Youth Surf Ski race. Fellow Junior team member Carter Brodhurst-Hill (QLD, Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club) finished 13th. Brodhurst-Hill also finished third in the Interclub Teams Youth Oceanman Relay.

“I watched Harry Armstrong and another guy from our club Bailey Jones come second and third in the youth ski and that really spurred me on for my races,” Fitzsimmons complimented the up and coming talent.

In the Interclub Teams Youth Women’s Surf Ski Race, 2018 Junior team representative Alicia Fay (Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club) also came away with a medal and finished third. 2017 Ocean Racing Junior silver medallist Georgia Sinclair (Wanda Surf Life Saving Club) finished ninth, while 2018 Junior sprint team paddler Mackenzie Duffy (Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club) finished 13th.

Already earlier in the week, 2018 Australian Youth team paddlers Anthea Warne and Tiarnee Massie took home multiple medals, including several golds at the Lifesaving World Championships Nationals competition.

Amongst others, Anthea Warne (NSW) won gold in the 100m Manikin Tow, 4x 50m Medley Relay, 4x50m Obstacle Relay and Rescue Tube Rescue. She also won silver in the 100m Manikin Carry and in the 100m Rescue Medley and bronze in the Surf ski race. Tiarnee Massie won gold in the board rescue, surf ski race, taplin relay, board rescue and mixed oceanman relay, plus a silver in line throw and bronze in the ocean woman iron.

See all results here: https://rescuesoft.info

With over 7,000 participants from 45 nations, LWC Adelaide 2018 was the largest Lifesaving World Championships ever conducted.