KY HURST has defied age, conditions and a hot field of rivals to win a record 10th open surf race title at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Western Australia on Saturday.
The Kurrawa local timed his finish perfectly to outsprint long time rivals Shannon Eckstein and Nathan Smith in an exciting finish.
Hurst was left trailing the leaders in the early stages of the race but gradually worked his way through the pack as they swam back to be beach in flat conditions.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
He drew level with Eckstein close to the sand and the pair, who between them have won nine Australian Ironman titles, rose together to wade through the shallow break.
Hurst then stumbled in a hole, but Eckstein immediately did the same and it was the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games swimmer who got his balance first and beat Eckstein across the line by two metres.
The win means he is undefeated in surf race finals at the Australian championships since finishing second to Stephen Short in his first open final as a 19-year-old in 2000.
“Every year I come to the Australian surf championships and it’s never an easy year and this year was definitely no different,” Hurst said.
“It’s been a pretty crazy career and to get that 10th is pretty good.”
“I don’t feel that old to tell you the truth, I don’t feel as if I’ve been running around for that long,” he added.
Hurst knew he wasn’t at the best end of the start line but was happy with how he began the race.
It came as a shock then to see how quickly some of his rivals, led by Northcliffe’s Dev Lahey, got away as they raced to the turning buoys.
“I put my head up to breath to the left and looked south and they were so far in front it was ridiculous,” he said.
“When I swam up on Shannon it was a matter from there of conserving my legs enough to use them at the end.”
The 10th title makes Hurst far and away the most successful surf swimmer in the sport’s 99-year history – alongside Clint Robinson who won 13 single ski titles and Simon Harris with 10 beach flags.