Ironmen’s mettle set to be tested by swell
SUNSHINE Coast ironmen and ironwomen have been told to prepare for "carnage" at this weekend's opening round of the Nutri-Grain Series.
Three-metre swells have been forecast for Smiths Beach, Western Australia, the site of the opening round, on Saturday.
The waves are expected to be smaller for round two on Sunday, but still around the 1-2m mark.
It seems organisers have got their wish for big waves after choosing the break, near Margaret River, to host the opening two rounds because of its reputation for large swells.
Organisers have gone in search of big-wave locations this season in an attempt to boost television ratings.
Race director and former champion ironman Zane Holmes said he was expecting "good old-fashioned carnage" at the opening two rounds.
"The reason we aimed to get this location was to get some real swells," he said.
"There are a few areas were we can set up on Smiths Beach. We won't make that final call until later in the week.
"If we tuck in around the corner it will be a lot smaller, but if we move up the beach it will be a lot bigger.
"We'll assess the conditions. The swell should be arriving on Friday and then we'll get an indication of what it's like.
"Safety of the athletes is our number one priority. We do want big surf as long as it is deemed safe."
Mooloolaba ironman Matt Poole said he was feeling a mix of excitement and nerves with big waves on the cards.
"It's always exciting and interesting when you have big waves to contend with," he said.
"You not only have to beat the other guys, you have to beat Mother Nature as well.
"That's the nature of the beach - sometimes it fights back. It's going to be pretty hard out there. Some guys are going to have shockers."