Fastest Man on Sand - Round 1 Maroochydore

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After a successful weekend at Dickys beach for the wateries, it was the turn of the Beachies to stamp their ground. It was all going down at Maroochydore for the first round of the fastest man on sand, with beach Sprint, beach relays and beach flags for age groups ranging from u11 to opens.

The day started at quarter before waaay to early when the team got together to fill up the club bus. Everyone installed themselves comfortably and with DJ Kenichi san behind the radio and masterdriver Jeff behind the big wheel, it was only the blink of an eye, for most, to arrive in hot and sunny Maroochy. No big haily welcome this time, that started promising.

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View in the bus

Ryan brought the tent and the team quickly confiscated a few parking spaces right at the beach. Must have been the smell of breaky that made the team sprint for the first time this day.

Back in the tent on the beach the revised adjusted changed program was announced. Instead of the opens starting at 12 it would be a 10:30 start, because of a smaller field of junior competitors showing up. And you don't want to have officials going home if they have to wait a few hours in the blistering heat. Especially if there are 18 short. Of course that was just a bit pessimistic, all ended well with fast working experienced officials and the best flags-placer ever in the form of Paul Cracroft-Wilson. Boy was he anal with that, not favouring anyone. Later on more about the beach flags.

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Kurrawa's Base of Operations

Beach Sprint

Kurrawa’s competition started with Laney Smith in the U12 age group with beach sprint. It was going to be her first surf life saving carnival ever! What a talent, she simply smashed the competition, easily cruising towards victory in the heats and in the semi final. Now it was a big day already with her first ever final. She was a bit unlucky drawing the top lane 8 being the softest and having the best incline. Nevertheless Laney flew towards the finish and made her competitors work hard. It was a very close call, but a very first bronze medal in her first final!

In the U 17 division it was Sam Mispelhorn outsprint fellow teammate Kyle Torok for a place on the podium. So Sam took home the bronze and Kyle just missed out on more medals for Kurrawa

Sadly it was a big rock in an earlier who took the fight to the toes of Bree Masters, leaving Bree injured and out of the competition for the rest of the day. 

One of the highlights of the program was the Open Women’s Beach Sprint final, featuring the reigning Aussie champion sensation Nicole Kay and of course the always favourite Melissa Howard. The 16 year old Mooloolaba girl claimed another victory over Mel, further conforming she will be the one to beat in every Open sprint. Both girls have a complete different approach to the competitive season, so we will see some red hot racing in the next few meets!

Not far behind this titanic battle it was Mandi Maritz ending up in 6th, closely followed by Jessica Whittaker

Heaps of Kurrawa competitors were in the Open Men’s beach sprint. Leading to heaps of Kurrawa competitors making it into the final. Before that, it was Sam Mispelhorn beating Robert Hendriks in the semi, although both missed the start, it is still something worth mentioning. Kenichi, Kyle and Shane were all out of the race early as well. 

In the final it was Ben Mispelhorn securing the goods and the gold for Kurrawa. Benjamin Mitchell got injured in the process, so wasn’t able to cash his excellent performance so far. It was Welshman Chris Parry stepping up and making it to the podium with a 3rd place! Just another promising performance right at the beginning of the competitive season. And with Jake Mispelhorn in 4th, it looks like this sprinting season will end up with a lot of Kurrawa on top anywhere.

Beach Relay

The day had started with the all age relay, so straight after the open sprints were done and dusted, it was time for the open beach relay. The Kurrawa girls suffered a blow with Bree Masters injured out of the game, but fortunately Jessica Whittaker was there to save the day. It wasn't enough to claim gold, which was handed to the young and blistering fast Mooloolaba girls. The silver medal would have to do this time for Kurrawa.

Even more rumble in the open men's relay. Since Paul wasn't running, Robert moved up a spot to the A team, but since Ben Mitchell was now injured as well, Sam Mispelhorn joined in. Wait, 3 Mispelhorns in one relay team?! That's one hectic team you got there, let alone have the marshal pronounce all those unpronounceable last names. This meant the newly composed Kurrawa Killerbeeez, consisting of Brandon McMahon, Shane Pierce, Kyle Torok and Ryan Hoffman were after beating the a team, just like at Aussies 2013.

While walking up from the marshal to the starting line, some beach cleaning had to be done, which led to some surprising accusations of sabotaging other lanes. This just made Ryan explode.

Of the line of course. A brilliant start by the Killerbeeez, but it wasn't long before Jake took back the lead and handed it to his taller brother Sam. He flew the baton to Robert, who not much later delivered it to Ben, bringing it home easily. Gold! The Killerbeeez didn’t achieve their earlier set target, but in this cracker field still came second, a Kurrawa one-two!

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Beach Overview

Beach Flags

The last event of the day happed to be the beach flags, with this time a no groin tearing inclined field, but an even battle arena. 

Earlier that day it was the fine Laney Smith in her first beach flags final. She really only recently joined the Kurrawa Nippers program, where in training she even keeps on beating the boys. The odds were a bit more in the favour of more experienced and little bit older girls in the field. Laney ended up 5th with a little bit of knocking around from the other girls had her decide not to dive for that one flag.

The u17 boys flags final had three Kurrawa boys in it, Brandon, Sam and Kyle. Kyle was the first one to drop out at a 7thspot.

In the last 5 Brandon and Sam nicely worked together, knocking a Currumbin guy out. Though in the process warrior Sam took a blow on his ribs, almost knocking him out. After he took hold of the flag of course. Gasping for air, the starter didn't care and ordered the boys back on the sand. This was just a bit too much for this Mispelhorn, so he ended up 4th.

Brandon once again almost won, but being a bit younger in this age group means less muscle mass, and exactly that muscle mass from his rival knocked him just next to flag, just missing the gold medal. So no revenge for a previous state title final. Expect an even more victory-hungry Brandon next time.

The Open women’s final ended up in a rematch from the Maroochy Classis a few weeks ago. Aussie and World champion Melissa Howard versus South African champion Mandi Maritz. Although Mel wasn’t yet in her peak form, she didn’t have many problems with the South African assault, leading all the way, quite easily collecting the last flag.

With the absence of Aussie champion Simon Harris it would be very interesting to see who ended up on the open men’s beach flags throne. The Maroochy Classic’s results suggested Ben Mispelhorn would be next in line, but he pulled out of the flags competition to prevent getting injured. Fortunately Kurrawa has some other hot topics to get to glory. First out was the European Champion Robert Hendriks getting up to 6th place. That other European, Chris Parry made a costly mistake a bit later on and he got 4th. 

The only Kurrawa hope left was Kenichi Wada, who decided to join the team after getting second at the Japanese Championships recently. In a Mooloolaba Sandwich Ken san was supposed to have the best cards, with already making the Aussie 2013 final. While the competition progressed, Ken put the pressure on more and more. With the last three competitors left he really started to fly, letting the Mooloolaba guys fight it out for a place at the last two. After that the boys got back on the hot sand and Kenji did what was necessary and claimed victory. Welcome to the team!

Next stop for the Kurrawa Beach Team is the second round of the Fastest Man on Sand on home soil! Kurrawa Beach; 4 January 2014.

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Brothers in arms

Kurrawa Results:

1st
Men’s Open Beach Relay (Jake Mispelhorn, Sam Mispelhorn, Robert Hendriks, Ben Mispelhorn)
Ben Mispelhorn Open Men’s Beach Sprint
Kenichi Wada Open Men’s Beach Flags
Melissa Howard Open Women’s Beach Flags

2nd
Women’s Open Beach Relay (Melissa Howard, Mandi Maritz, Jessica Whittaker, Catherine Donaldson)
Brandon McMahon U17 Beach Flags
Melissa Howard Open Women’s Beach Sprint
Mandi Maritz Open Women’s Beach Flags
Open Men’s Beach Relay (Kyle Torok, Ryan Hoffman, Brandon McMahon, Shane Pierce)

3rd
Laney Smith U12 Beach Sprint
Sam Mispelhorn U17 Beach Sprint
Chris Parry Open Men’s Beach Sprint

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