THERE was a certain symmetry about all-rounder Finn Askew’s performance at the country championships.
The 17-year-old from South West Rocks finished the weekend at Kingscliff Beach with an incredible tally of 11 medals after he claimed five gold, four silver and two bronze.
Eleven years ago, he lined up in his first country championship event so it seemed fitting his final one would result in a medal for each year he competed.
Victories in the open ironman, open male swim, under-17 male swim, under-17 surf ski race and under-17 board race were all meaningful in their own way.
But it was the open ironman success that meant the most to the South West Rocks product.
“I really loved winning the open ironman,” Finn said.
“In the open iron you’re not just competing against your age group … anyone can do it.
“It was a board, then a ski and then a swim so you got the extra leg compared to the younger years so it makes it a bit more challenging in the conditions like we had.”
I really loved winning the open ironman.Finn Askew
A strong sweep to the north, four-foot swell and a tricky gutter meant all competitors had to be aware of what the ocean was throwing at them.
“Instead of running straight into the water you had to know how far you had to run down the beach,” Finn said.
“That was so you could swim straighter and land right on the first can so you didn’t swim any further distance.
“There was a lot of dead water so you had to really pay attention to what the surf was doing and make decisions based on what was happening at that particular moment.”
Finn won the open swim earlier in the day, but had not won an open ironman event at country level before.
“I came third the previous year, but this was my first year winning the open iron,” he said.
“I was happy with a lot of my individual performances because that’s the main thing I work towards.
“My preparation leading up to it was very good so it enabled me to perform at my best.”
Spending more time fine tuning his ability on the ski meant Finn’s performance was a more rounded one than 12 months ago.
I came third the previous year, but this was my first year winning the open iron.Finn Askew
“I’ve done a lot more on the ski this year; I’m a lot more powerful and strong which is the key to being good ski paddler,” he said.
“I think that really helped me over the weekend.”
Finn will now focus on the state titles in late February before he competes in the Ocean Six series at Wanda Beach.
His season will then wrap up on April 3-7 at the Australian titles before he makes the move north of the border.
“Next season I’ll be moving to the Gold Coast and competing with a club up there,” Finn said.
“But for state and Australian titles that are coming up, I’ll be competing for a Sydney club called Newport with a few good mates and hopefully we’ll do good.”