Conner Maggs has proven why he's one of the brightest stars in Australian surf lifesaving after upstaging his highly-fancied rivals at the Sydney Water Surf Series/Summer of Surf double header at Bulli on Sunday.
The surf lifesaving extravaganza, which saw round three of the Sydney Water series held in conjunction with a Summer of Surf round, attracted some of Australia's top SLSC talent to the Illawarra. Points accumulated by individuals went towards both competitions.
The strong north-east wind provided a challenge for even the most seasoned competitor at Bulli Beach. However, Maggs - who won all four junior events at April's National Championships - showed few signs of nerves as he went up against a strong field of competitors in the open Ironman category.
Maggs went stroke for stroke with Warilla's Nutri-Grain Ironman star Ben Carberry and fellow young gun Noah Steiner (Wanda), but it was the Newport talent who emerged victorious.
Earlier in the day, Carberry prevailed in the open male single ski class, while Newport's Charlie Brooks won the open male board race category.
Meanwhile, it was pre-race favourite - and Maggs's clubmate - Lizzie Wellborn who claimed victory in the open Ironwoman category on Sunday.
Wellborn had earlier claimed wins in the board and ski, and then secured victory in the major women's event from fellow Newport surf lifesaver Piper Harrison and Lily O'Sullivan (Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park SLSC). Wellborn was mobbed by local nippers at the finish line, having run a mentoring session for them just one day earlier.
"I was a little bit nervous coming into today's competition. I hadn't done a short-course race yet, whereas a lot of the guys did Wanda (festival) and the Nutri-Grain trials," Wellborn said.
"I wanted to make sure that I could have a good day today and build some confidence because, from here on out, we've got big competitions to come. So I think I had a bit of adrenaline built up for the finals today and I was happy to do well."
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