THE AUSSIES: Open Championships Day One action underway
THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: DAY ONE
HOST club Maroochydore made the perfect start to the Aussies 2016 open carnival by claiming the first gold medal of the day.
The under-19 women's ski relay team of Brianna Massie, Drew Beveridge and Cassie Lee paddled away to a big win ahead of Kurrawa and Newport in clean, 0.5m waves.
Massie had the team away to a good start, finishing her paddle alongside Avoca Beach in first place.
Beveridge was then able to race away from the chasing teams to open up a big lead that was extended further when the three closest paddlers all came to grief on a breaking wave as the paddled back to the beach.
From there it was a matter of Lee making no mistakes to bring the team home to a gold medal.
"It's a great way to start the carnival," an ecstatic Massie said.
"We thought it was just going to be a heat so it was a shock when we were told it was going to be a final and that added to my nerves on the start line.
"It's also the first time they have held the under-19 ski race so that makes us the first winners and that's amazing."
THERE'S plenty of numbers in today nice and early, ahead of what looms as a crucial day of Open and age-group racing.
With the under-17s men's board relay and men's surf teams finals up for grabs as well as the boat relay final and a number of quarter and semi finals, dreams will be made and broken across Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headland today.
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GLORY TO GLENELG
GLENELG, South Australia to Maroochydore Beach is about 2100km of driving according to Google Maps.
That's a long way to come for a first crack at The Aussies since 2003, but it's exactly what Glenelg's Dalton brothers, Tony and Steve did.
And didn't they make the trip worthwhile.
The 40-44 years Male Double Ski final was a thriller at Maroochydore yesterday.
Two boats overturned early in the race as powerful white water made it tricky to paddle out and it was the Glenelg lads who made the most of it with a strong return leg.
They edged out home favourites Maroochydore in a photo finish, sparking jubilant celebrations from the southerners.
"I'm absolutely stoked," Steve said.
"It doesn't matter how old you are (Aussies Gold is exciting)."
For Steve, it was his first tilt at the Aussies, while Tony hadn't been back since 2003.
The pair only started training in earnest last year, but thanked their mentor Bob Clarke for his work with the pair.
"We owe it all to him," Tony said.
With a 10-year-old ski underneath them, the odds weren't exactly in the duo's favour.
But they made sure they'll enjoy every taste of froth that touches their lips for the next week before the long trip home.
"We've got the relay and then we'll be getting a bit boozy," Tony said with a laugh on the finish line as his Glenelg teammates showed their appreciation.
"We're retiring this ski now," Steve said.