The West

Clubbies have sand as secret weapon
City of Perth lifesavers Gabby Murphy, Brittany Houghton, Meaghan Slattery, Brittanny Brymer and Alysse Hogan. Picture : Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

They have spent countless hours launching themselves across the soft white sand of Perth's beaches.

And when 5000 competitors from across Australia converge on Scarborough next week these five beach sprinters are hoping that sand will be their secret weapon.

Scarborough will host the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, known as the Aussies, for the first time since 2009, with 1400 WA "clubbies" ready to take on competitors from more than 190 clubs.

City of Perth surf life savers Brittany Houghton, 23, Brittanny Brymer, 20, Gabby Murphy, 20, Meaghan Slattery, 23, and Alysse Hogan, 26, filled the first five places in the open women's beach sprint at the recent WA State Championships.

They are hoping their regular training sessions on WA's softer sand - which their Eastern States rivals will not be used to - will boost their home turf advantage.

"The support we will get from our family and friends will also be great," Ms Brymer said. "We're going to have massive crowds down here wearing the red and black."

WA Surf Life Saving chief executive Paul Andrew said the Aussies would make for spectacular viewing, giving fans and up-and-coming clubbies the chance to watch their heroes - including iron men Ky Hurst and Shannon Eckstein - in action.

"Scarborough, without doubt, would have to be the best viewing beach in Australia," Mr Andrew said.

Tourism Minister Liza Harvey said that after injecting $14 million into the local economy in 2009, this year's event would be an even bigger boost for Scarborough and showcase the first stages of the foreshore's revamp, including new bars and restaurants.

The West Australian

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