Profile - Mark Bennetts
Mark Bennetts is one of Australia's most highly regarded surf lifesaving competitors. His outstanding competitive record spans almost four decades and is testimony to him being awarded a Citation of Merit from surf lifesaving's world governing body in 1988.
Mark Bennetts' association with surf lifesaving began in the same year that nippers were inaugurated - in 1967. As one of the Southport club's first nippers Mark claimed back to back state surf swim titles before retiring at the tender age of 10 because he simply didn't like it.
The inclusion of board riding (standing) events in surf lifesaving competition lured Mark out of 'retirement' and into the cadet ranks where he also competed as a board paddler.
Inspired by the performances of three times Australian Ironman Champion Ken Vidler in 1972, Mark embarked on a sporting journey that would see him become Australia's most prolific Ironman finalist.
Mark competed in 16 consecutive Australian Ironman finals from 1974 to 1989 - a feat which will never be repeated. During this period he achieved five podium finishes.
Mark has achieved more than forty Queensland titles and has won thirteen gold medals at Australian Championships in a variety of surf lifesaving events.
At the age of 34 he won the inaugural Uncle Toby's Ironman trial and has represented his country on seven occasions winning many international events.
There are two major highlights in Mark's illustrious career. The first is when he won the World Ironman crown from Northcliffe champion Robert Nay in Bali in 1981. He is equally impressed by his performance at the National Surf Lifesaving Championships in 1994 when at the age of 36 he won his way through a field of 300 competitors to place second in the Open board race.
Mark was named Walter Lindrum Sportsman of the Year in 1981 and was awarded Life Membership of the Southport club in 1985. At the age of 27 he remains the youngest ever life member of Southport.
As assistant coach and coach of the Queensland team Mark helped guide his state to back to back national surf league titles in 1991 and 1992.
Mark continues his lifelong dedication to the surf lifesaving movement and Southport club as competitor, coach and mentor to the many junior surf lifesavers coming through the ranks.
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