Tough field lining up for share of Coolangatta Gold
THIS year's Coolangatta Gold is expected to feature the event's toughest ever field after a massive boost in the torturous race's prize-money.
The winner's purse for the prestigious event is expected to almost double after Schick Hydro was yesterday announced as its naming rights sponsor.
The Daily understands the one-year deal with Schick Hydro will see the prize pool across all divisions increase from $65,000 to around $100,000.
The event's winning payment has long been a source of unrest for athletes. Last year when Mooloolaba's Ali Day won the 46.65km race he collected $20,000, the same amount Guy Leech earned when he took out the inaugural event in 1984.
Last year's women's winner Brodie Moir took home just $10,000 for her 32km effort.
It is not known exactly how much this year's men's and women's winners will take home, with the prizemoney to be announced by organisers on Friday, however it is likely to act as a carrot-on-a-stick for the sport's best athletes.
Five-time Gold champion Caine Eckstein and his brother, ironman legend Shannon, have already put their hands up and yesterday a host of the Sunshine Coast's best indicated they were considering lodging their nominations.
Day said yesterday he hoped defend his title while his Mooloolaba clubmate and last year's third place
getter Josh Minogue said he would be a definite starter.
Matt Poole said he would leave his decision until after next month's Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championship in Hawaii.
"For me the biggest obstacle over the last few years has been injuries," Poole said.
"It has given me a shorter off-season to get super fit.
"I'm having a pretty good off-season right now.
"I'LL come back from the Molokai and see if I'm motivated. (Entering the Gold) has crossed my mind. I've thought about it. But (a prizemoney) increase might be the opportunity to get me across the line."
Nutri-Grain Series runner-up Kendrick Louis said competing in the Coolangatta Gold was one of his career ambitions, however he was yet to make up his mind.
"I'd love to do it in my career, whether it's this year or not," Louis said.
"As for the increase in prizemoney, it's not about that, it's about the race ... I've always said to (coach Michael King) and my family, that when everyone does it, Ali, Pooley, Shannon and Caine, I want to have a go at it. But it's a lot of hard work and dedication. It's almost a year's worth of work and the rest of your year may suffer."