Seaspray crews set to sizzle

COMING into the final round of the Victorian arm of the Australian Surf Rowers League with an unassailable lead, Seaspray’s Boats ‘n’ Hoes crew will qualify to represent the state at the interstate challenge.

With Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club hosting the round, the Boats ‘n’ Hoes will qualify on their home surf. The club is also hosting the Eastern Region Nipper Competition, with about 300 people expected to attend with competitors coming from across the state for the twilight carnival tomorrow and full surf carnival on Sunday.

The Boats ‘n’ Hoes continued their run of success last Sunday, again claiming the under 23 women’s race during the fourth round of the ASRL at Jan Jac.

Sweep Glen Lazzaro said with three first placings and an equal first, the Boats ‘n’ Hoes had an unassailable lead and would be heading to the ASRL Interstate Challenge in Newcastle, New

South Wales in February should they be able to complete their heat.

“It’s point based, so it’s not necessarily the winners on the day that qualify for the state team,” he said.

“In our division there are currently eight crews; we have three wins and an equal first.

“The compulsory event, we filled that so pretty much we have an unbeatable lead; we just have to show up.”

Lazzaro said the crew was pleased it had achieved the aim of representing Victoria in Newcastle.

“This is our second year; we have a new rower in Sarah (Cotterill) and the other three have built on last year,” he said.

“They have fulfilled their goal and they are rapt.”

In Newcastle, the Boats ‘n’ Hoes will compete against crews from other states in an individual race, before combining with other Victorian crews for the relay. The crew will then stay on to test themselves against some of the nation’s best under 23 women’s crews, with about 70 crews expected to compete in their division.

“We started our training in June so it’s nice to have a milestone to achieve mid year; we can rest a bit and then the states (Victorian championships) after that,” Lazzaro said.

Lazzaro said Seaspray’s other under 23 women’s crew, the Bubs, would also compete on Sunday.

“We will try and get a men’s reserve crew up as well, just because it is our beach,” he said.

“The racing is getting tighter, the crews are gelling and getting faster.

“We (Boats ‘n’ Hoes) are improving a bit but probably not as much as other crews, they are getting faster.

“It’s good competing now, it’s challenging.”

Lazzaro said the crew was looking forward to finishing the Victorian arm of the series on its home beach.

“We didn’t really expect it; it was sprung on us a bit,” he said.

“I think it’s on the back of a really good year last year; we had six competitive crews and had some success. We had some success in being second in the state and they probably said, let’s reward Seaspray with an event.

“Most carnivals it’s a four-hour trip and a stay overnight; to be on your own beach with a 20-minute drive is great.

“It’s very different to other beaches, we have a faster break so it’s probably a bit of an advantage.”

Divisions of surf boat racing being contested include open men, open women, reserve men, under 23 male, under 23 female, under 19 men and masters.

The first heats will be held tomorrow between 1pm and 5.30pm with the remaining heats held on Sunday from 8.30am before the finals begin at 11am.

After the finals, the Victorian representative crew from each division will be named to contest the ASRL Interstate Championships.

The club will also host the Eastern Region Nippers carnival for the first time in four years on Sunday.

Action will begin at 9am and conclude about 2pm.

Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club chief instructor Katrina Binotto said 10 eastern region crews from as far as Phillip Island to the west and Mallacoota in the east were expected to compete at the junior lifesaving state pre-qualification event.

“It’s a key event; a marquee event on the calendar before the states,” she said.

“We’re expecting about 100 competitors between nine and 15 years of age.”

Competitors will compete in a team event before tackling the ironman.

“The ironman event will consist of a 300m swim, 400m board and a run up the beach, so a pretty good effort for a 10 year old,” Binotto said.