Ali Day in action during round two of the ironman series. Picture: Supplied
Ali Day in action during round two of the ironman series. Picture: Supplied

Day dominates finale, Eckstein farewelled

RETIRING surf legend Shannon Eckstein was given a guard of honour and Ali Day secured a deserved second Nutri-Grain series crown after a year spent beating himself up for not winning the title last season.

In torrid conditions at Sydney's Wanda Beach on Saturday, the professional series farewelled one champion while crowning another.

Eckstein, who will retire from all elite competition after the upcoming Australian surf lifesaving championships, finished fifth in a wet and wild finale won by Day.

It was a result that followed on from Eckstein winning 34 individual races along with nine Nutri-Grain series crowns during a career spanning almost two decades.

"It's been a big part of my life for a long time," Eckstein said.

"To have the guys and girls line up like that was very special."

Ali Day claims a Nutri-Grain series round win. Picture: Supplied
Ali Day claims a Nutri-Grain series round win. Picture: Supplied

Special also was Day avenging his second place in last year's series after a countback with Matt Bevilacqua.

"I've thought about that every single day since," said Day, who won three of the six rounds this season.

"It's been a long time coming with the last one five years ago."

Fortune favoured both the brave and Day in big seas, a howling south-easterly, driving rain and chilly conditions.

Day went from the middle of the pack in the swim to back in front after rivals ahead of him went off course aiming at the wrong buoy.

"They all swam the wrong way. It just fell into my hands," Day said.

"It's hard to get on the podium any time. To win two is special."

Day also paid tribute to the retiring Eckstein.

"I have idolised him for so long," Day said.

"I'm so glad I get to tell my kids one day that I got to race him."

Day won the sixth round eliminator racing from Kendrick Louis and Ben Carberry.

Overall he won the 2018-19 series from Louis and former champion Matt Poole.

News Corp Australia

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