Yamba Surf Club member Ben Plunkett with the 2km beach run gold he won at the Australian Surf Life Saving titles.
Yamba Surf Club member Ben Plunkett with the 2km beach run gold he won at the Australian Surf Life Saving titles. Debrah Novak

Ben owns sprint event

YAMBA'S Ben Plunkett says his runner-up placing at last month's NSW titles spurred him on to greater success at the Australian Surf Life Saving titles on the Gold Coast last weekend.

The 37-year-old was pipped in a tight finish at state level at Kingscliff in just his second attempt at the 2km beach sprint event.

Fast forward to last Saturday and Plunkett ensured the result went his way this time around in the 35-39 age category.

“I thought I might as well go pretty hard to make sure I didn't lose again,” he laughed.

“It's not a complete sprint but it's a lot of effort.

“I went up there hoping to get a medal. You always want to get the best of the three, and the gold is obviously better.”

So impressive was the Yamba surf club member's effort that Plunkett even beat a Bondi Rescue TV star.

As well as the winner of the 30-34 age group.

“I wasn't sure who was in each age group,” he said, mentioning he simply tried to overtake everyone he could.

Plunkett joined fellow Yamba competitor Joe Dougherty, gold medallist in the 30-34 age tube rescue, as the big winners from the small club.

Dougherty was also fourth in the board race and ironman.

In other Yamba results Jim Schafer was fourth in the 60-64 rescue tube and combined with Jim Dougherty and John Ellice-Flint for fifth in the over-170 years surf teams race.

While Chris Outteridge was sixth in the 45-49 female board race and the masters men boat crew of Brendan O'Mahony, Andrew Cumberland, Chris Bonner, Wayne Ringland and Rod McSkimming (sweep) were second, fourth and fifth in the preliminary rounds and missed out on the semi-finals

The Yamba women's “boilers” crew of Mel O'Mahony, Carla Spooner, Leah Essex, Jo King and Rod McSkimming (sweep) were unable to progress to the semi-finals.

“To go away and represent them (Yamba) up against a lot of bigger clubs was pretty special,” Plunkett said.

Plunkett's triathlon background and soccer with Yamba prepared him for the event.

He went straight from the Gold Coast to his soccer match at Coutts Crossing on Saturday before backing up as patrol captain on Main Beach on Sunday morning.



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