Bulli determined to bring George Bass 'home'


Most New Year's resolutions last only a matter of days and, if all goes to plan, that will be the case for the Bulli men's surfboat crew.

Their New Year's resolutions were made months ago and involved the return of a prestigious piece of silverware to what is considered by many its rightful home at Bulli Surf Club.

The seven-day, 190-kilometre George Bass Surfboat Marathon begins at Batemans Bay on December 29 and concludes seven days later at Eden. Interchangeable eight-man crews tackle the seven legs of the race, with the longest leg stretching 35 kilometres and the shortest 19.

It is the toughest surfboat race in the world and offers a chance for this crew to put their stamp on the Bulli club's 100-year history, according to sweep Paul Jones.

"Everyone links Bulli surf club with the George Bass marathon, which goes back to 1977 and '79 when we won those two races," Jones said.

Paul's father was at the helm when the Bulli crew won all seven legs of the race in 1979 and his crew of rowers have similar family links to the race.

"A lot of the guys I've got rowing now, me included, have relatives that rowed in those races so there's a big family history there," Jones said.

"My father, Russ Jones, swept the crew back in '79 when we won all seven legs.

"We've got sons and nephews of guys who rowed in those crews so there's a lot of history in the current crop of guys," he added.

For a club with such a deep connection to the race, a 12-year absence from the top of the podium is simply too long.

"We've had seconds and thirds along the way, but just haven't been able to crack it for a win."

While the lack of regular marathon racing makes it difficult to gauge the field, Jones expects defending champions Moruya Vikings to be the biggest obstacle to overcome.

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