The Navy Australian Surf Rowers League (ASRL) series commenced in an action packed weekend launching the season on the beaches of Surfers Paradise, on the weekend of 5th and 6th November, 2011. Over 60 crews gathered on the Gold Coast to battle it out in the Open Mens, Open Womens, Under 19 Men and Masters division. The event also coincided with the Queensland State and Junior Beach Volleyball Championships on the same beach.
Navy and ASRL are a good fit and Navy's sponsorship of the sport assists the organization to recruit more lifesavers. The importance of which cannot be underestimated said, Bert Hunt, President of ASRL,
"The more lifesavers are in the water, the more lives saved. It is amazing when you think about the synergies between Navy and ASRL while Navy protects the Australian coastline, the ASRL protects the shores of every state and territory around the country," he said.
The event kicked off early Saturday morning with Masters Division, Womens, Reserves and Under 23 Men providing good racing all day in hot weather almost perfect for surf boat racing – a one metre swell with a tricky shore break on the way out and good runs on the way back in
One of the many highlights for the public and competitors over the weekend was the displays conducted by 723 Squadron Augusta A109E, piloted by LEUT Ben Lancaster and his crew of LEUT Andrew Serchen and LSA Dan Colbert.
Saturday started with the hot weather and a 1.5 metre swell. A 10 knot easterly wind meant a hard run out but a fast return leg to the beach.
Sunday continued with the hot conditions and the official media launch attended by CDRE David Letts, Commanding Officer NHQ-SQ (CMDR Lachlan King), President of the ASRL Mr Bert Hunt and Gold Coast Councillor Suzie Douglas.
With a beautiful start to the day the boats continued to compete socially through the morning until 1030 when it was time for the Official Launch and the formation shot of over 35 surf boats heading out to sea with Navy's Augusta 109 and the city skyline creating a picturesque backdrop.
Around 11am an easterly change which brought 15 to 20 knot winds and squally conditions tested all crews as they began to form up but due to great skills by all crews the .
The event provides a valuable economic contribution to the city of the Gold Coast with 5,500 visitors including competitors, supporters, families and friends attending the event. The sun and surf provides the backdrop for this competition but, as in the Navy, it is the contribution of each individual who make up the winning team.
Story by LCDR Don Hogarth
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