North Coast to become home of Nutri-Grain series this summer
THE Gold Coast and Kingscliff are set to become the home of the Nutri-Grain series this summer with Surf Life Saving Australia announcing on Sunday four of the six elite series rounds would be held in the region.
Kingscliff will host the Nutri-Grain series trial event on November 28-29, before athletes return for Rounds 1 and 2 of the series in a double-header weekend on 19-20 December.
The series will then head to North Cronulla for Rounds 3-4 in mid-January before returning to Kurrawa beach for the final two rounds on February 13-14.
Should the Queensland border still be closed for the Sydney based rounds, it's expected competition will be shifted back to Kingscliff.
The top ten Ironmen and Ironwomen from the 2019/20 series will automatically qualify for the 2020/21 Nutri-Grain Series with eight male and female spots to be decided through a qualification event and two wild cards spots up for grabs, bringing the total field to 20 males and 20 females.
The announcement ends months of speculation for 2019-20 series runner-up's and Northcliffe athletes Georgia Miller and Matt Bevilacqua after some feared the series would suffer the same fate as the 2020 Coolangatta Gold which was cancelled due to border restrictions.
"We've always got to be constantly ready for a massive season and I think we're going to get rewarded for the effort," Bevilacqua told The Today Show.
"This year is the best (opportunity) we've seen to go one better. "
Miller added: "Hopefully in a couple of weeks I can remember how to race because it's been a few months."
There is a total of $200,000 on offer for athletes, with both men and women offered an equal $100,000 prize money across the 2020/21 Nutri-Grain Series.
Surf lifesaving is also confirmed to return to free-to-air television for the first time since 2013 in a game changer for the next generation of aspiring professional stars.
As part of a new broadcast deal with Channel Nine, all six rounds of the Nutri-Grain Series will be broadcast across the three weekends of competition this summer.
The rising stars of the surf lifesaving world will also have the chance to show their wares as part of the newly formed Nutri-Grain Next Gen series, open to under-17 and under-19 males and females.
The series will run as a curtain raiser to the elite competition and the top under-19 male and female at the completion of racing will automatically qualify for the 2021-22 Ironman and Ironwoman series.
Surf Life Saving Australia CEO, Adam Weir, said that SLSA is excited to to be able to raise the profile of our elite athletes as well as up and coming young athletes.
"The Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series is iconic, and our sport together with our purpose of saving lives connects with many sporting fans from young nippers through to traditional sporting followers," he said.
"We are thrilled that for the first time in close to a decade we will have our elite sporting series on free-to-air TV and reaching broader audiences."
1. Kendrick Louis
2. Matt Poole
3. Matt Bevilacqua
4. Tanyn Lyndon
5. TJ Hendy
6. Ben Carberry
7. Jy Timperley
8. Cory Taylor
9. Max Brooks
10. James Lacy
1. Lana Rogers
2. Georgia Miller
3. Lizzie Welborn
4. Harriet Brown
5. Danielle McKenzie
6. Courtney Hancock
7. Jemma Smith
8. Tiarrn Raymond
9. Maddy Dunn
10. Brielle Cooper
2020/21 NUTRI-GRAIN SERIES
- Qualification Round - 28-29 November 2020 - Kingscliff, NSW
- Round 1-2 - Nutri-Grain Series - 19-20 December 2020 - Kingscliff, NSW
- Round 3-4 - Nutri-Grain Series - 16-17 January 2021 - North Cronulla, NSW
- Round 5-6 (FINAL) - Nutri-Grain Series - 13-14 February 2021 - Kurrawa, QLD
SURF Life Saving Australia has given the best indication yet they will stage a Nutri-Grain series this summer after releasing details of a trial event to surf life saving clubs on Thursday.
An announcement on the elite series appears imminent after clubs and coaches received a circular asking for athletes to nominate for a Nutri-Grain series trial.
It's understood the trial will be held in late November at Cudgen Surf Life Saving Club and athletes Nutri-Grain series fancies will have the chance to qualify.
The trial circular and imminent series announcement are set to end months of speculation and alleviate athlete fears an elite series would be cancelled.
The 2020 Coolangatta Gold fell victim to ongoing border restrictions earlier this year and it was feared the Nutri-Grain series could suffer a similar fate with several elite competitors residing in Sydney.
Northcliffe ironman Cory Taylor told Newscorp last week athletes had been training since the middle of the year but did not know what they had been training for.
Bar the Alexandra Headlands Unbreakable endurance race last week, Gold Coast athletes have not raced since January after the Queensland and Australian Surf Life Saving Titles were cancelled.
"I enjoy training for the fitness benefits but you also need to be training towards something," Taylor said.
"You're getting up at 4:50am to go to swimming training and you don't know what you're swimming for."
Last year, the top 12 Nutri-Grain series finishers from the preceding series automatically qualified.
Surf Life Saving Australia awarded two wildcard positions, leaving six spots available for trialling athletes though the exact makeup of the 2020-21 series remains to be seen.
An official announcement is expected within days but athletes are expecting the series to start in December.