George Bass bragging rights must wait

SURFBOATS

When a mechanical failure forced the Bulli men's surfboat crew into second place on day one of this year's George Bass Surfboat Marathon, club stalwart Russ Jones couldn't help but see the funny side of it.

Russ swept Bulli to a famous seven-leg sweep of the iconic race in 1979, a feat his son Paul was hell-bent on emulating with his 2013 crew.

It was not to be, however, with a broken water pump forcing the crew to settle for second on day one.

Bulli went on to win all six remaining legs but family bragging rights remained with the old man.

"I had a bit of a shot at him," Russ said.

"They were 200 metres in front when they had those problems with the pump and I said 'bad luck Jonesy, you won't get seven out of seven'."

Jokes aside, Russ said Paul's crew, boasting a host of other family ties to the event, compared favourably to his 1979 crop.

"It was a very good crew," Russ said. "The bloodline's definitely there."

For Paul, the victory was extra special given his father's exploits in 1979.

"The George Bass is part of DNA here, so to win six legs like he [Russ] did is one of the highlights of my career," he said.

"Bulli won in 2002 but the boys won it on countback, so this was the the first time we'd won this dominantly since dad's crew [in] 1979."

Despite the victory, Paul said he still has a lot to do to match his father's accomplishments.

"I'd obviously like to emulate his career but he swept for 30 years and I've only been doing it for 12, so I've got a long way to go to match he's done," he said.

The family affair also extended to the Roberts clan. Father Gary was a member of Russ' 1979 record-breaking crew and was a keen observer this year as his sons Aaron and Mitch paddled to victory.

"It's a real buzz," he said. "Paul invited me to come down on the support boat, so I saw it all first hand.

"You get to where you're really proud of your boys for what they've done. They understand what you did and I can see what they've done and it really brings everyone together."

Also successful for Bulli were the veterans crew, finishing third, and ski paddler Michael Locke, winning all seven legs of the ski race.

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