A record number of competitors took part in the return of the popular Albany Surf Craft Challenge, held in drizzly conditions on Sunday morning. The weather was windy and wet, and the entries broke the previous best mark with a record 36 surf boats and 45 surf skis starting from the town marina. The course rounded the Cheynes II Whale Chaser wreck, headed through the channel, and finished in front of the Albany Surf Life Saving Club. The 2km beach run was held after the water event, followed by presentations for all three events. Crew d’etat from City Beach ended North Cottesloe’s stranglehold on the Whale Tail Trophy in the open men’s division. However Critical Business from North Cottesloe continue to dominate the open women’s race. Crew d’etat finished in a time of 1hr.4min. 28sec. to win the open male surf boat race from City Freo Kingswoods (1:05.25) while Albany’s Special Boat Squad (1:06.25) rounded out the top three. In the open female race, Critical Business crossed the line more than a minute ahead of their closest rival. Critical Business stopped the clock at 1:06.11 to beat home Scarboro Sunsets (1:07.38) and City Pina Coladas (1:08.41). Cottesloe Muppets (1:04.58) won the 160+ men’s surf boats division and North Cott Hunter (1:08.31) claimed the 160+ women’s division while Albany Surf Life Saving Club Fat Gannets (1:11.04) were third. Joel Drummond finished the 13km ski course in under an hour, being the first competitor to complete the race in a time of 58min. 33sec. Simon Speville was second in 59:20 and Albany Surf Life Saving Club member Nick Walker was third for the second straight time in 59:58. The single ski women’s category was won by Harriet Brown in 1:08.55 who defeated Nicole Jahn by more than three minutes. ASLSC member Beth Hearle won the women’s 55+ race while Paul Smaniotto took out the men’s 55+ event. The double ski event was won by Gary and Bernice Butlion who stopped the clock at 58:27, with Steve Bird and Abbie Loraine in second place. Category winners of the 2km beach run were Nicholas Ferguson (open men), Keira Mladino (open women) and Albany member Liesel Freebury (under-14 girls).