League of her own
JORDAN Mercer has always been saddled with expectation, thanks to her famous last name, but yesterday the Noosa prodigy officially stepped out of the shadow of her legendary family.
Mercer, 17, produced one of the most remarkable performances in the history of Australian surf sports to dominate the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championship in Hawaii.
The Sunshine Coast Grammar student and budding ironwoman completed the 52km course in a record time of 5 hours 22.31 minutes, 28 minutes ahead of her nearest rival Kanesa Duncan Seraphin.
Since stepping on to the scene last year Mercer has been highly touted, owing to her being the daughter of Coolangatta Gold winner Darren and the niece of two-time Australian Ironman champion Dean.
Grant Kenny, a Sunshine Coast ironman great and one of Mercer's coaches at the Noosa Surf Life Saving Club, said with the victory the youngster had gone a long way to building her own legacy.
“The magnitude of this achievement should not be understated or underestimated,” Kenny told The Daily yesterday.
“For a start it's an extraordinarily difficult way to get across the channel. It's not something I would want to do. To be in that water at such a young age, and to be by far the youngest winner, it's an extraordinary achievement.
“And it's now like she just showed up and it was a soft year. It was a really top-class field. The woman that came second (Seraphin) has won it eight times.
“Knowing Jordie and knowing the way she trains and commits, I had this feeling that she could win. I didn't really know much about the field, I just couldn't imagine anyone being better than her.”
Mercer's win was nothing short of emphatic, as she smashed the previous race record by 40 minutes.
The win sets up Mercer nicely for the upcoming IronWoman Series, which she will trial for at her home beach on August 27-28.
Kenny, who got up at 3am and watched Mercer's performance via the internet, said he was in awe of the Noosa tyro.
In 1979, as a 16-year-old, Kenny won the Molokai 2 Oahu Ski World Championship in a time of 5 hours 37 minutes.
His time was 15 minutes slower than Mercer's and on a much faster craft.
While conditions were favourable for Mercer yesterday, Kenny said that did not account for the size of her victory.
Kenny was cautious of placing expectation on Mercer. However, he said he would not be surprised to see her win a round of this year's IronWoman series.
“I don't want to put pressure on her, but put it this way – in any race in the series, I wouldn't be overly surprised to see her come out of the water first,” he said.
“Let's remember she has a trial to get through first.”
The Gold Coast's Jamie Mitchell won a 10th men's title in a time of 4:40.31.
It was a successful day for Sunshine Coast athletes in Hawaii, with Mooloolaba ironman Matt Poole combining with his Sydney-based father Ian to finish second in the teams event.
His Mooloolaba teammate Cam Cole also came second in the stock class division.