BULLI will renew their rivalry with the Australian representative Avoca team when the Navy Surf Boat Series comes to Shellharbour, starting on Friday.
After their success at the Ocean Thunder series and the Manly event on the Australia Day long weekend, Bulli have proven to be the standout crew so far this summer.
But Avoca remain their sternest challenge, on a Shellharbour course which is notorious for upending even some of the most experienced campaigners.
“It’s a bit of a shore dump, there’s often a tricky four-foot wave which causes a lot of surge at the end,” Australian Surf Rowers League Bert Hunt said. “It certainly favours the most stronger, more technical rowers and makes life tough.”
Wollongong City’s reserve open women’s crew will spearhead the Illawarra charge.
Competition starts on Friday, with the masters, reserve men and interstate championship racing.
On Saturday, the four-round open men, open and reserve women, under 23s and under 19s are underway from 7.30am.
Quarter and semi-finals are held on Sunday morning, before the six-boat finals action starts at 1pm.
In total, 300 crews from 100 clubs will be competing, with a 400-metre course to the turn and a shoreline finish.
The ASRL is also introducing a yellow leaders jersey to the competition, similar to international cycling and the World Surf League competitions. An increase of 30 per cent of competitors has seen women’s entrants reach the same number as men.