Hancock wins third
FORMER Coffs Coast surf stars Courtney Hancock and Emma Moffatt enjoyed mixed results on the opening day of the 2010-11 Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Ironman series.
Courtney Hancock finished third behind Gold Coast ironwoman Elizabeth Pluimers in a thrilling first-round clash while Emma Moffatt won the Ironman Legends event in the company of former Olympic teammates Kenny Wallace and Grant Davies.
Pluimers earned her victory in the challenging one-metre waves at Currumbin on the Gold Coast.
The 24-year-old beat early leader Alicia Marriott and Hancock in the 45-minute enduro race format in which competitors raced out through the surf before battling their way back through the tricky conditions in the Currumbin river mouth.
After a shocking start in the opening ski leg, Pluimers clawed her way back in the ski, run and swim legs before hitting the water about 100 metres behind Marriott at the start of the board leg.
From there it appeared that Marriott, the defending series champion, would streak away with the win but Pluimers had other ideas, pulling onto a powerful wave in the river mouth to erase Marriott's massive lead in a matter of 20 seconds.
From there it was a sprint over the closing 800m run leg and Marriott couldn't keep pace.
Pluimers said she was surprised to have caught Marriott after she led by so far.
“I am surprised to have won,” Pluimers said. “The whole week I was looking forward to this race because it's something that has been done before with the river mouth and this distance.
“Going out I got hit by a few waves and had to roll but luckily enough, when I was coming around the last marker buoy I got a wave.
“That's surf and it can either go for you or against you and today it went for me.”
Pluimers said although she was surprised to eventually win she liked chasing the field down.
“It is tough to come from behind but I like to chase, I don't like to be the rabbit,” she said.
“I guess I am the rabbit for now though heading into the next race.”
Marriott looked distressed after the race and said she was not happy with her final result.
“It was a really tough hard race and I am a bit disappointed with my result,” she said.
“It's tricky with the river mouth knowing whether to go wide or take the shortest route.
“I took the shortest route and I obviously made a mistake.”