AFTER a big winter off and just three weeks of pool training, Redhead’s Justin McMorland was hoping to survive the first ironman round at the Summer of Surf series on the weekend at Fingal Bay.
The 19-year-old, though, turned out to be the shining light for the Hunter in challenging surf for the third stop on the six-round Summer of Surf circuit.
The Caves Beach local was knocked out in the first round of the ironman at the Alexandra Headland and Newport events but progressed all the way to the final at Fingal, which was won by Manly’s Kendrick Louis on Sunday. Rebecca Creedy took out the ironwoman decider.
McMorland’s Redhead clubmates Daniel Collins and Isak Costello were 11th and 12th respectively on the ironman standings heading into the Fingal Bay round and hoping to push their claims for qualification into the $200,000 series final on February 24-26 at Cronulla.
However, Collins and Costello were eliminated in the first and third rounds respectively on Saturday as powerful surf favoured craft specialists.
McMorland, a two-time junior national champion on the board, was sixth in his heat to move straight into round three, where he was eighth to qualify for Sunday’s final.
He finished 15th of 21 in the decider where Louis held off James Lacy (Mermaid), Hayden White (Currumbin) and ironman legend Shannon Eckstein (Northcliffe) in a bunch finish.
McMorland was “over the moon” to be rubbing shoulders with the nation’s elite ironman in the final in his first season on the Summer of Surf circuit.
“I wasn’t really even planning to have a go at making the series, but I’m just starting to get fit again and get back in the pool, so I’m heaps stoked to come away with a 15th,” McMorland said.
“I just had a pretty big winter off and I got hurt early last year with a shoulder injury, which stopped me swimming, and I’ve just been back in the pool for the last three weeks.
“I was just stoked to get through the first round and I ended up getting through the second and making the final, so I couldn’t have asked for more, just to be in that final.”
McMorland said the conditions at Fingal suited him.
“The order of ski, board, swim definitely is a favourite order of mine, and the surf was great too,” he said. “It’s definitely got me hyped up and I’m heaps more dedicated to start training harder and better, so I’ll probably do the ones at Wollongong and Surfers Paradise.”
His next goal is to make the NSW team from the state interbranch titles on December 10-11 at The Lakes, Budgewoi.
The ironman/ironwoman finals results on Sunday were:
Nutri-Grain Ironman Final Results
1) Kendrick Louis - Manly
2) James Lacy - Mermaid
3) Hayden White - Currumbin
4) Shannon Eckstein - Northcliffe
5) Jackson Maynard - Currumbin
6) Luke Cuff - Mermaid
7) Max Brooks - Newport
8) Tanyn Lyndon - Burleigh
9) Ben Carberry - Burleigh
10) Simon Murfet - Mermaid
11) Cory Taylor - Northcliffe
12) Jay Furniss - Manly
13) Matt Poole - Kurrawa
14) Matt Bevilacqua - Kurrawa
15) Justin McMorland - RedHead
16) Jarryd McDonell - Northcliffe
17) Cam Cole - Alex Headlands
18) Nathan Gray _ Surfers Paradise
19) TJ Hendy - Surfers Paradise
20) Hamish Chapman - Mermaid
21) Kody Innis - Burleigh
Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Final
1) Rebecca Creedy - Kurrawa
2) Lizzie Welborn - Nth Bondi
3) Emma Dick - Burleigh
4) Brielle Cooper - Nth Burleigh
5) Kristyl Smith - Northcliffe
6) Taylor Puskaric - Manly
7) Lana Rogers - Noosa
8) Harriet Brown - Northcliffe
9) Ella Heiniger - Nth Burleigh
10) Naomi Scott - Manly
11) Devon Halligan - Burleigh
12) Alex Nolan - Northcliffe
13) Jade Mikle - City of Perth
14) Lara Moses - Newport
15) Courtney Hancock
16) Olivia Heaton - Newport
17) Tara Coleman - Nth Burleigh
18) Kirsty Higgison - Surfers Paradise
19) Amy Nurthen - Currumbin
20) Jayde Hardstaff - City of Perth
21) Allie Britton - Nth Burleigh