Surf legend in ironwoman’s corner
When Carla Papac won the under 19 ironwoman crown at the Australia surf life saving championships a few years ago she showed she had the talent to make a real mark on surf sport.
Now, after qualifying in the main field for the Nutri-Grain ironwoman series in 2020/21, she has the vehicle in which to do it.
Papac, 22, was one of four NSW woman to secure spots in the ironwoman field at the two day trials at Kingscliff on the weekend.
"I've been in the series doing one round here and there the past few years so I knew it was definely possible (she could qualify),'' said the Hurstville Grove athlete who spent her junior years at Cronulla surf club before relocating to Wanda.
"It's great to be in.''
Papac is now working under former Australian and world ironman champion Nathan Smith at her new club and showing the benefits of his training and knowledge.
"I loved Cronulla but Wanda had a bigger range of girls to train with,'' she said.
"I love training with the boys but it got to the stage where I needed to be pushed by some top girls.
"And having Nathan Smith as a coach is great. He has lots of insights, he knows what he is doing, the conditions. When he says something I know I can have complete trust in him.''
Papac is one of four NSW women to qualify for the series after the weekend trials along with Naomi Scott from Manly and Emily Doyle and Madison Spencer from Newport.
The men's and women's fields now stand at 18 with two wildcard positions up for grabs in both.
This year's Nutri-Grain ironman and ironwoman series will return to live free-to-air TV for the first time since 20 while a new series designed to discover new talent will be held before each of the six rounds.
A prize pool of $100,000 will be up for grabs in both the women's and men's competitions, with two weekends of racing in NSW at Kingscliff and North Cronulla.
DATES AND VENUES
Dec 19-20: Round 1-2, Kingscliff, NSW
Jan 16-17: Round 2-3, North Cronulla, NSW
February 13-14: Round 5-6 (FINAL). Kurrawa
TV: Live and free-to-air on Channel 9