Widely regarded as the pinnacle of Surf Sports, the Open Taplin relays are often a showstopping event and the one event every club in Australia wants to win. For the last 10 years Northcliffe has been impossible to beat, largely due to the broad talent pool stepping up to the plate when other team mates are injured or MIA. Last week for the first time in a long time the mighty club was brought down 4 times in a row in the Men’s and womens Taplin’s with the Mooloolaba’s B team taking line honours in 3 out of 4.
Is this the end of an era? With club pride on the line and races broadcasting on Fox Sports each week, several clubs have leaped at the challenge to take down the big maroon bear. In fact Northcliffe failed to even make the start line in the Mens Taplin final for Round 2 at Alex headland.
So who are the Challengers? Matt Poole anchored his team to victory on Saturday showing even the B Team from Michael King’s ironman academy are worthy contenders.
Newport’s SIQS series leader Max Brooks led the Sydney based team to some solid early performances and will race the final of the series with a home ground advantage.
In the womens Maddy Rose was the only conqueror of the surf in the tough conditions on Saturday, setting up a comfortable victory for Mooloolaba B team with Noosa proving to be much more than a One-lady-band when Peta Langton, Jordy Mercer, and Alex Nolan took out the event for the first time and best Taplin result in many years.
It will take 5 amazing performances to take the title and with 9 rounds to go, we may be yet to see the victors begin to emerge. Can someone land the final blow for a down and out Northcliffe?