By: Surf IronWoman Series, Newcastle, Australia - Northcliffe’s Kristyl Smith has taken out the women’s eliminator in round three of the IronWoman Series at Newcastle Beach on Sunday. The Series veteran led from start to finish in the third and final race to claim her first victory in three years ahead of fellow Northcliffe competitor Liz Pluimers and North Burleigh’s Alyce Bennett.
The round got off in disastrous fashion for Series leader Courtney Hancock, who along with Candice Falzon, lost her handle of the ski in the second leg and was bundled out of contention after failing to make the top 14. This paved the way for both Smith and Pluimers to take advantage of Hancock’s misfortunes and dominate the rest of the field. Liz Pluimers looked in top form in all three races, taking out the first two before Smith edged ahead in the final courtesy of a sublime opening swim. Smith, who just scraped into the final eight, used her expertise and knowledge to the maximum to tame the choppy surf and overpower her rivals.
It is a welcomed return to the winners circle for the 29-year-old after falling victim to the bridesmaid tag for the last couple of years.
It’s at least about three year’s sine I’ve won so there’s been quite a few races in between win, but these conditions really suited the experience of the older girls and it sorted of showed as the top five were all over 25
an ecstatic Smith said.
“I won’t be thinking too much about the leader’s jersey, you just have to go out there and give your best and not think about the overall picture.
“Looking at Perth, I’m just going to concentrate on the board and the swim and hope I have enough in the run to hang on and get another top finish.”
For Hancock, her 19th placed finish was a disappointment, but the 2010/11 Series champion said she was keen to get her campaign back on track with a third Series win at Perth.
“I’m definitely not happy with that, it’s one of the worst round results I’ve ever had and all I’ve really got to look forward to now is Perth,” Hancock said.
“Basically I just got caught under a really big wave and lost my ski so there’s nothing I could really do about it.
“I’ve never really worried about the big pictured, and even after winning in rounds one and two I was still just focused on the next race.
“This is now done, it’s gone in my mind and I now fly to Perth with Bonnie to have a full week to concentrate at the job at hand and get things back on track with a win in Perth.”
Smith now leads the Series by 11 points over Liz Pluimers, with Hancock trailing in third a further two points behind.
The three will continue their rivalry when they head down Perth’s coastline in round four of the Series this Sunday.
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