SOUTH Coast products Ali Day (Kiama) and Kirsty Higgison (Nowra-Culburra) both had strong performances at round five of the Ocean 6s Series at Surfers Paradise on Sunday.
Both athletes, who now train out of the Surfers Paradise SLSC, made the most of their home ground advantage, finishing eighth and fifth respectively in their Nutri-Grain Series ironperson races.
The men’s event was won by Matt Bevilacqua – who moved into second place on the leader board, one spot behind first placed Ali Day.
“This race had everything, big surf and huge banks and you just had to keep a cool head, but it makes the win all that more special in insane conditions like this,” Bevilacqua said.
“I think everyone was in trouble at some stage today in the 6ft mess and I was lucky enough to get an opening in that last ski leg,”
“I feel my experience is starting to show and I’m getting stronger.
“The mental attitude of staying calmer under pressure has really helped me and I’m just taking it race by race and fingers crossed for the final round in Cronulla.”
Higgison’s fifth place finish was her best of the season to date, with Courtney Hanock claiming the win – her first Nutri-Grain Series race win for this season.
“It was really special here today and it feels so great to have won and to have everyone here cheering me on,” Hancock said.
“I woke up this morning and I felt a win in me.
“I felt really relaxed.
“I lost my ski and had to swim but I didn’t get angry - I just laughed and took each wave as it comes.
“I’ve done so much work and I’ve felt really strong and fit.
“I went back and watched my last few races and realised that my starts have been a bit slow so that’s what I’ve been working on.
“The day’s long races were good as I trained this format for the Gold (Coolangatta Gold) so I could keep going.
“I’ve been really positive throughout the Nutri-Grain Series this year and today feels great.”
This result moves Hancock up to third place, behind leader Harriet Brown, with Kirsty Higgison in 17th.
The sixth and final round will be held on February 25 at North Cronulla.