Manly’s Kendrick Louis confirmed his status as a leading contender in this year’s Ironman Series while Umina’s Jemma Smith broke through in an entertaining round of the Summer of Surf at North Wollongong Beach.
Competing in small swell, Louis was at his dominant best out in front as he notched up his second win of the series ahead of Kiama product turned Surfers Paradise star Ali Day and Kurrawa’s Matt Bevilacqua.
Louis won at his first start this series in round three at Fingal Bay before maintaining his good form with a second behind Burleigh Head-Mowbray Park gun Ben Carberry.
The 25-year-old now has 119 points for the series, with a competitors best three results combined.
It puts him in pole position to win the Summer of Surf series which will provide crucial preparation for his tilt at a maiden Ironman title during the finals series in February.
Louis has already been given a spot at the event.
So has Smith, who was also impressive in her maiden win of this year’s Summer of Surf.
The top Ironwoman was first up the beach, beating home Currumbin’s Amy Nurthen and Courtney Hancock, of Northcliffe.
Kurrawa’s Rebecca Creedy (115 points) maintained her overall lead despite opting against competing in the fifth leg of the six event series. Healthy crowds lined the beach to watch the sport’s elite compete at North Wollongong Beach.
North Wollongong Surf Living Saving Club captain Manuel Schuldt hailed the event as a success.
“It was a great weekend,” he said.
“We spoke to the organisers and they were really happy with what our surf club provided and how it was run.
“All of us were really happy to have the Summer Of Surf down there, especially our nippers who actually had the opportunity to meet all their idols. You had heaps of famous athletes from surf sport and they were all absolutely fantastic. They were all extremely approachable.
“From what I heard the organisers thought it was one of the best rounds in terms of the whole atmosphere.”
Smith wrapped up a super weekend with a win in the surf ski. The men’s event was won by Mitch Trim (Newport).
The board events were won by North Cronulla’s Will Budd (male) and Northcliffe’s Danielle McKenzie (female) while Redhead’s Daniel Collins and Northcliffe’s Kristyl Smith took out the swim. Out of the surf, Thirroul’s Jazmine Yew made sure the locals didn’t go home empty handed with a win in the female beach flags.