Fast and fit surf lifesavers suit conditions at the Spit

Shannon Eckstein leads Ali Day (on the board) and Matt Poole in the final round of the Ironman Series at Noosa on February 24.
Shannon Eckstein leads Ali Day (on the board) and Matt Poole in the final round of the Ironman Series at Noosa on February 24. Warren Lynam

THERE will be nowhere to hide for competitors at the state surf lifesaving championships, where the shielded Mooloolaba Spit presents a virtual lake for the fittest and fastest.

So say influential Coast coaches Darren Mercer, Rhett Collie and Michael King ahead of today's launch of the three-day carnival.

With the beach erosion at Maroochydore forcing most water events to the Spit, the three men said the flat conditions would favour the best-prepared athletes.

Leading competitors, including reigning national ironwoman series champion Courtney Hancock and dual Olympian Ky Hurst, have bemoaned the change of location but understand the rationale behind the decision.

Collie, of Met Caloundra, said: "It's definitely changed the scope of the results for sure … (but) anyone who's done the hard work, it shouldn't matter to them."

Collie believes the skill factor will largely be negated because of the benign conditions.

However, he said the canny would still gain some advantage from the conditions, while North Queensland athletes - traditionally disadvantaged by the larger surf - would likely benefit from the Spit's placidity.

"There's not much skill required at Mooloolaba, although there's still a trick to be had and tactics to be made," he said.

"Most of the high-end guys who are serious about the sport won't be affected at all."

Mercer, of Noosa Heads, is expecting a survival-of-the-fittest scenario - a "hard slog" from the start.

"That's what it will come down to on the weekend - the guys who have done the hard work will shine throughout the weekend after a few rounds on the flat water," he said.

King is unperturbed by the change of location, saying it will be the same conditions for everyone.

He also believes the lack of swell will give athletes an excellent speed gauge and allow them to pinpoint any technical deficiency ahead of the national championships at North Kirra next month.

"Realistically, from our point of view, we don't care what beach it's raced at … we'll be prepared to race in all conditions," he said.

"We never try and prepare for certain conditions because you never know what Mother Nature will throw up."

Topics:  mooloolaba spit surf life saving

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