Wes Berg shows steely resolve

IRONMAN 

Wes Berg trains world champions, has been known to condition other world-class athletes and still finds time for his own preparation in one of sport's most gruelling pursuits.

Busy enough?

"It's a good thing, isn't it? It's better than having nothing to do," the 33-year-old joked, barely pausing as he swapped the gym for the massage table.

A quick glance at Berg's stable of surfers suggests that they alone should be enough to occupy all of his time.

Recently crowned world champion Joel Parkinson is one, Berg chairing his good friend off the beach after his title-winning surf at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii last month.

Luke Egan and Mark Occhilupo are other students.

Another frequent visitor to the gym is Jack Freestone, last year's junior world champion.

While Berg's work with them on terra firma is the basis for their exploits in the water, he's also been known to take Gold Coast's professional football teams to the beach for their own preseason punishment.

But the former Bulli ironman, raised on the South Coast, still finds time to occasionally torture his own body to compete in the national ironman series, for what he describes as "enjoyment". Even if it is to show his proteges the oldest man on the ironman circuit has still got what it takes.

"I've had my day where I did race professionally and chase the titles," Berg said on the eve of Sunday's third round at Portsea.

"You preach to these boys about what they should and shouldn't do and how they should go about it, but you just want to make sure when you're competing yourself you give your best performances because they're sitting at home watch it."

Call it leading by example, if you like. But it wouldn't be possible without the support of Berg's understanding wife and former ironwoman Jade Sutcliffe.

Which is why Berg wants to repay a little bit of the faith shown in him at Portsea, the scene of his most celebrated ironman victory nine years ago.

"I want to finish top five at the end of the series, but at Portsea I definitely want to have a podium finish. I love racing down there and it looks like it's going to be nice and cold," Berg said.

After a moderate start to the series in Perth, Berg bounced back at Newcastle to finish sixth.

But it's when the ironman series ends that Berg will become really busy.

That will herald the start of a surfing odyssey taking in Burleigh Heads, Bells Beach, Brazil and Fiji before the end of June.

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