STEVE Kerr is no stranger to winning gold medals at the Victorian surf life saving titles.
But the veteran competitor endured a drought in his pet event before outclassing his rivals in Sunday's open male board final at Ocean Grove.
The Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club coach, at 40, was the oldest in the field, making the victory even sweeter.
"It was my ninth win in that title but my first in seven years," Kerr said. "I have been going at it since my first one 18 years ago. Last year I got second in a sprint finish up the beach so it's nice to get back up and claim that one."
Kerr - dad to William, 10, and Lachlan, 9 - was proud of his efforts.
"It is very satisfying, having won it before but not for such a long time," he said.
"I am well and truly in the twilight of my career and it's nice to get one in the bag but also for the kids I coach and the group I coach it is important to lead the way and show what's possible as well."
Kerr, who was the oldest in the field "by at least 10 years", credited his win to a strong start which allowed him to keep his opponents at bay.
"I managed to get to the front early and was able to back in my strengths which is my fitness and just kept plugging away it," he said.
"I opened up a bit of a break on the field before we got into the waves."
Kerr was among a host of Warrnambool competitors to medal at the state titles.
Teenager Mia Cook, who claimed five medals including gold in the open ironwoman, and the Johnstone siblings - Alana and Ellie - were standout performers.
"Mia's a very modest girl. She works incredibly hard and as her coach on the board I get to see that first-hand, just the way she applies herself and the role model she is for our younger athletes, both the boys and the girls, is exceptional," Kerr said.
"Her going down and watching our under 14 and 15 girls in their board relay - those girls really do look up to her - it just shows the character she has to race up the beach and support them."
Kerr said the Johnstone siblings "had real days out".
"Alana, Ellie and Mia teamed up to win the taplin relay for the girls at the end of the day," he said. "Each of those girls had a story within their individual legs (swim, board or swim) they did. It was an exceptional race."
Steve Kerr (gold open male board); Alana Johnstone (gold open female ski); Ellie Johnstone (bronze open female ski); Alana and Ellie Johnstone (gold open double ski); Mia Cook (gold open ironwoman, silver open board, gold under 17 female ski, gold under 17 female board); Mia Cook, Ellie Johnstone, Alana Johnstone (gold open female taplin); Alana Johnstone and Jackson Fary (bronze mixed double ski); Jackson Fary and Paddy O'Brien (bronze men's double ski); Darcy Bridgewater, Isaac Owen, Harvey Moncrieff (gold under 19 boys' board); Will Main and Henry Hoffmann (gold under 17 boys' 1km relay); Paddy O'Brien, Harry McNamara, Steve Kerr (silver men's open board relay); Darcy Bridgewater (gold under 19 male board); Isaac Owen (silver under 19 male board); Gilbert Harrison (gold under 14 1km run); Riley Shiel (silver under 14 beach flags); Georgia Ierodiaconou (silver under 15 board; Georgia Ierodiaconou, Rory Fawcett and Lexi Moncrieff (silver under 15 board relay).
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