MOLLYMOOK SLSC’s Sam Zustovich has once again shown why he is considered one of the top surf lifesaving competitors in the country, by claiming a gold medal at the recent Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide.
Zustovich, who is dominating the 2018/19 Ocean6 Series, showed his class by taking out the youth men’s beach flags event.
“There were three rounds with 8-10 starters prior to the final and I was doing pretty good and felt confident early on,” Zustovich, 16, said.
“I try to get into a rhythm and focus on the little things in my turn, to get me ready for the more difficult rounds.”
His opening round form saw Zustovich matched-up with Elouera SLSC’s Michael Hanna for the gold medal.
“I treat the final two like every other turn,” he said.
“I know if I focus on myself and do everything right that I will win – reaction, quick back foot, staying low and driving out are the things I remind myself of – I don’t focus on my competitors at all.
“When I got the flag it was mix of relief and excitement.
“I’ve never competed at the world championships, so it was a huge moment for me and I was just happy to get the win.”
“To be world champion is a big deal for me,” he said.
“I’ve won state and Aussies before but this was the first time I could compete at worlds.
“It was something I’ve been setting out to achieve since Aussies last season.
“It is my biggest achievement of my career and I’m looking forward to setting new goals for the rest of the season, starting with trying to get another open win in the Ocean6 Series at North Wollongong in two weeks.”
Zustovich’s achievement caps off a memorable championships for Mollymook, who also claimed two silver medals and one bronze in the surf boats – with Kate Lewis also adding a 12th place finish in the open women’s beach flags.
Another South Coast product to shine on the sand was former Nowra-Culburra star Holly Abbey.
Abbey, who now competes with the Coogee SLSC, claimed a bronze medal in the youth women’s beach sprint – behind Cronulla’s Chloe Mannix-Power and Seacliff’s Cloe Griffiths.
She also just missed out on a medal in the youth women’s beach flags, finishing fourth, being edged out by North Cronulla’s Alexandria Rampoldi, Alexandra Headland’s Mia McWilliam and Coledale’s Jasmine Yew.
Another Nowra-Culburra product to compete at the world champs was Kirsty Higgison, who finished fourth in both open women’s ironperson and board events.
Higgison’s training partner at the Surfers Paradise SLSC Ali Day, a Kiama product, also had a successful meet at Glenelg.
Day took out the prestigious open men’s ironperson race, from Newport’s Jack Borg and Currumbin’s Ben Carberry.
The former Nutri-Grain ironman champion also claimed gold in the oceanman relay with Surfers Paradise team mates TJ Junior and Max Beattie.
Day rounded out his strong meet with a silver medal in the open men’s ocean swim, finishing behind winner Oliver Signorini, from Newport.