GOLD Coasters Karla Gilbert and Beau O’Brian were crowned the winners of the 18km marathon races at the Toyota Australian SUP titles at Currumbin on Sunday.
Gilbert completed her dominance of the distance events after her win in the tech race on Thursday, while O’Brian dominated the men’s race for an easy win.
The course started at Snapper Rocks and completed a lap from Bilinga before a final leg to Currumbin Creek with the event finishing in front of the Currumbin RSL.
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The return upwind leg to Snapper into a moderate southerly wind tested most of the field and O’Brian took the chance to open a decisive lead. By the time he turned again for the run home he had opened up a 150m lead and continued to extend it into Currumbin Creek for a comfortable victory.
O’Brian finished in a time of 1hr37mins29secs ahead of Jake Jenson (Gold Coast, QLD) second in 1:39.08 and Michael Booth (Gold Coast, QLD) in third in 1:39.18.
“You’re racing against some of the best paddlers in the world here so you’ve got to make a quick start. My race plan was to try and break away at the start and then smash myself upwind to extend my gap and try and break the pack,” O’Brian said.
“It worked out pretty well as once I got to the downwind section home I started catching the bumps and really started enjoying myself while the rest were still on the upwind section.”
Gilbert won both distance races at last year’s titles but was pushed all the way in the marathon by Terrene Black (Toowoon Bay, NSW) with the two forced to engage in a paddle battle after turning for home inside Currumbin Creek.
Gilbert had a small lead coming into the creek, but Black caught a wave in to reduce the gap and ensure both had to slog it out to the end. Gilbert won in a time of 1:53.04 with Black only a few metres behind.
“That was a pretty brutal race,” Gilbert said. “It wasn’t too bad at the start with the wind behind us but as soon as we turned at Bilinga it was like a funnel of headwind coming straight at us.
“I tried to save a bit of energy going into the headwind, but once you turned it was a pretty good run. I think Terrene took a better line than me to Currumbin and then she got that wave so we had a little battle coming up the creek.”
Full results and times can be viewed at www.australiansuptitles.com.