Putting the Challenge back in the Albany Surf Craft Challenge!

Records go tumbling!

The Surf Craft Challenge this year recorded its highest ever number of surf ski competitors, the fastest ski paddle on record, and biggest ever turnout of surf boats – a full 10 more boats more than our previous PB!  Overall Albany SLSC welcomed almost 300 competitors to our shores to take part in the event, and combined with the ardent support provided by family, friends and the wider Albany community, the event was absolutely huge!

The sustained growth in entries is a welcome sign of the club’s ability to host and deliver quality, state-level events, and attract competitors from both our far ranging regional locations as well as metropolitan surf club strongholds.  It was fun, rewarding and challenging day for all involved!

Race conditions on the day varied wildly, from the fast downwind surf runs across the Harbour – fuelled by a cranky NW stormfront hitting the race start which also rendered distant Quaranup and the Cheynes wreck invisible from view – to the sheltered and sunshine laden flat-water expanses of Middleton Beach and Ellen Cove finish line.  The many moods and faces of the Southern Ocean coastline were on full display for competitors and spectators alike, and capturing all the race action and beauty of the course – with scenery that almost stopped some of the first-time racers – local pro photographer and clubby Lee Griffith has been able to share his extraordinary set of stills with us – please enjoy them here:  Photos

All club and community volunteers deserve a huge thankyou for making the event happen this year, managing not only the continued growth in competitor numbers and associated logistics, as well as the at-times challenging weather conditions, but also continuing to adapt to the changes brought about by successive foreshore and clubroom redevelopment projects.  This includes team and individual roles ranging from Race Timing, Recording, Briefings, Registrations, Approvals, First Aid, Water Safety, Race Courses, Catering, Results & Presentations, Merchandise, Social Media, Traffic Wardens, Beach Setup and Venue Management to name a few!

A generous grant received from Albany Community Bank (Bendigo Bank) was vital this year in the creation of a fresh look event hub and marquee at Middelton Beach, creating an all-weather base for the day which certainly came into its own!

The running of this event (along with similar others in the calendar year) also relies on important contributions made by a number of local delivery partners, including Albany Sea Rescue for generously donating the services of 2 rescue boats, Albany Advertiser for providing ongoing media support, and our very own Donna Cameron’s DC Design for providing expert graphic design services. 

Albany SLSC would also like to acknowledge Southern Ports, Department of Transport, Albany Boat Shed and City of Albany for their assistance through the event planning, management and approvals process.

And last but certainly not least … a super group of aligned businesses provide valuable sponsorship to this event every year, helping to fund the annual prize pool and generally keep it running sustainably on behalf of the club and community.  This year we thank:

  • Bennett Paddles
  • Woodlands Distillery
  • Dolphin Lodge
  • Big 4 Holiday Park Middleton Beach
  • Helen Marshall Family Law
  • Great Southern Specialist Centre
  • Three Anchors, and
  • Mr John Banks 

Finally … congratulations go to all our race division winners and placegetters – all hard fought and well earned this year, with some great team and individual tussles and fast times overall, and heartening mix of new and familiar faces, and ages spread from youth, opens to masters categories – it’s a great sign for the future of surf lifesaving and surf craft racing!  Albany clubbies acquitted themselves really well too as the results and times will attest!

For full results including all times please go to:  Results

See you on the beach later in the year!

If you missed out on merch at the event, visit our Merch Store here