Swansea-Belmont’s Kye Taylor and BMD Northcliff’s Lucy Derbyshire have earned automatic entry into the 2021/22 Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWoman Series having won the inaugural Nutri-Grain Next Gen competition at Kingscliff, NSW.

The three-race Series, run in conjunction with the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series was contested by the countries rising U19 athletes and as a pathway to the Series proper.

Taylor, 18, was equal first with Wanda’s Nathan Jay heading into today’s final and had to come from behind to take the victory in the final Survival race. Taylor was in fifth place in the second last board leg and caught a wave to by-pass the race leaders and take the lead heading into the final ski leg where he held on for a comfortable victory.

“I missed my handle on my board on the start and I thought that the race was over, then I got back on the boys wash and got really lucky with that wave,” Taylor said.

“I said the whole time that I have to win it, just to make sure. I knew going into it that they were going to be up there, out of the swim we were all together and on the board again, but I just got lucky enough to get away from them.

“It’s what everyone does it for. I had a go at the trials but didn’t lucky enough there, but for Surf Life Saving Australia and Nutri-Grain to put this on it’s awesome to give us that opportunity.”

Derbyshire, 17, finished second in today’s third and final race which was won by Manly’s Piper Harrison. The second place finish, ahead of Swansea-Belmont’s Bella Williams in third, was enough to secure the overall victory for Derbyshire, who was equal first with Williams heading into today’s final round.

“I’m feeling, I don’t even know, I’m very emotional, I’m absolutely over the moon to make the series and I’m just so relieved as well,” Derbyshire said.

“Honestly, I don’t even know I think I was so focussed and so in the moment, I just knew that I had to try come as close to Bella as I could, because I knew it was going to be a sprint up the beach.

“As soon as I fell off and she did too and I just dove down the wave, I knew that I was going to be in the Series next season.

“To be honest it was probably the best run up the beach I’ve ever had… I don’t think it’s even quite sunk in yet.”

For the full results from today and current leader board click here.