AFTER months of sacrifice and training, the nation's best ironmen and women have descended onto Scarborough Beach in Western Australia for the final event of the season, the 2014 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships.
Open competition kicks off today, and the Hunter branch will be leading the pack in many of the events throughout the carnival.
Perhaps none more so than the open men's board race, where Redhead's Stewart McLachlan has been hyped as one of the favourites for the race and to secure back-to-back crowns.
After a dominant outing at the recent NSW state titles, McLachlan has shown that he has certainly done the work to be on the starting line come finals day on Sunday.
The open men's ski race is one of the most unpredictable events of the carnival, with a handful of athletes all capable of taking out the crown.
Newcastle should be well-placed, though, with last year's silver medallist Greg Tobin (Swansea Belmont) and former champion Peter Scott (Redhead) both in strong form.
In the women's, defending under-19 female board rescue champions Hannah Trypas and Renee Gregory will be tough to beat after taking out the same event in the open category at the state titles.