SOUTH-WEST surf life savers have maintained their status as powerhouses at masters level with a string of medals at a state carnival.
Warrnambool and Port Fairy surf life saving clubs won a collective 22 medals at the Victorian Masters’ Surf Life Saving Championships at Lorne.
Warrnambool took home 14 of them, including five gold, as its nine-member crew handled the flat surf with ease.
Robbie Brain was the pick of the bunch, clinching three gold medals.
He won the over 30s single ski, paired with Phil Kerr in the over 30s double ski and teamed with Kerr and Michael Owen in the 110-years-plus teams’ ski.
Other gold medals came courtesy of the three Owen brothers — Michael and Rodney in the over 45s double ski and Mark in the over 45s single ski.
George Day, who is still competing at age 71, Peter Day and Ben Johnson were also among the minor medals.
Team spokesman Peter Day said he was rapt with the medal haul, which was on a par with previous years.
He said Rod Symons — the ninth crew member — was unlucky not to win a medal after Warrnambool was disqualified in a teams’ beach relay.
“Last year was pretty good as well. It was about the same,” Day said.
“Five gold, 14 medals, that’s pretty good. I think everyone did the best they could, everyone was happy with their efforts.”
Day said flat surf with “two-foot waves” challenged competitors in the ocean events. “I would’ve rathered it a bit bigger,” he said.
“We rather a bit more surf but it tests everyone out when it’s flat. You’re paddling the whole way in.”
Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club was likewise successful. A four-member Port Fairy team picked up eight medals, including two gold.
Leonie Boyd won gold in the over 45s beach sprint and beach flags. Mark Plant, Ilona Plant and Paul Buchanan also claimed two medals each.
Buchanan, the Port Fairy club captain, said the haul was “fantastic, everyone was very pleased”.
He said the lack of masters’ surf boat racing — which is on this weekend — meant the club sent a smaller-than-usual team.
“The boaties would’ve gone in other events as well as the boats but they shifted the Victorian masters’ boat championships to next weekend,” he said.
“We’ve got three boat crews heading back to Lorne next Saturday for the masters’ boat carnival.”