MULLALOO Surf Life Saving Club youngster Ben Jones has been turning heads on the east coast.
The 19-year-old came 16th in the Coolangatta Gold, which is dubbed one of the most challenging endurance races in surf sports, competing against professional surf ironmen.
It consisted of a 23km surf ski, 9.2km run, 3.5 swim and 6.1km board paddle.
“The Coolangatta Gold is the biggest distance event in our sport,” Jones said.
“Some of the people who have won it are the best in the sport so just to be doing the same race as the Ecksteins and Ali Day meant a lot to me.
“This race has always been something I wanted to do because I remember watching it a long time ago when Caine Eckstein won and it just became something for the future for me.
“I have always been quite good at the longer events whether it was cross country or open water swimming.
“Because I always enjoyed doing it, I saw this race as the next level up for me.”
To prepare for the event, each week Jones was doing three long distance ski sessions, two board sessions, swimming five mornings, going for three runs and doing a transition session of a long board followed by a long run.
However, he said it was “definitely worth it”.
“Finishing the Coolangatta Gold (and) having known that five months of training and hard work had paid off was an emotional and gratifying feeling and experience,” he said.
“This year, I chose to have a year off university and other commitments so that I could focus on my race.”
Jones will now turn his attention to The Aussies and trying to make the WA state team.
He then hopes to make the Great Britain team for the 2018 World Championships in Adelaide.