Bond elite student athlete Bree Masters had a point to prove heading into the Ocean 6 surf life saving series at Surfers Paradise at the weekend.
The former World Beach Sprint Champion is in sparkling form this season and claimed a fifth straight sprint race at the Ocean 6 series. She is also within striking distance of the overall flags title to complete the rare double.
But despite winning a World Championship in 2016 in the Netherlands, the 23-year-old has never claimed an individual gold in an Open event at the Australian Surf Life Saving Titles.
It is the driving force for the Bachelor of Communication (Business) student as she chases the elusive title.
“Nationals is the focus,” said Masters.
“I was the youngest to ever win an Australian Beach Sprint Title at 13. I have won multiple age group gold medals, but I haven’t managed to get the gold medal in the open field individually yet.
“Not having ticked that goal yet, does drive me to keep working hard.
“I’m working hard and hoping to get the sprint and flags overall win (at the Ocean 6 series), but there is no doubt that the national title is the focus.”
The Ocean 6 Series shapes as the perfect warm-up as Masters plans to claim her maiden Open individual National Title when the Gold Coast hosts the Queensland State and Australian Surf Life Saving Championship in March and April.
“This is our biggest time of the season, so I’ve started university at the hardest part of the year,” Masters said.
“I’ve already had to get letters from the Bond Elite Sport Program to get exams changed and I’ve only been here three weeks.
“I’d love to represent my country again, so going well at the Australian Titles will help me do that.
“I want to win both the sprint and flags. It’s a very rare and high goal, but it will always be my biggest goal.”
Masters was not far away from achieving that goal in 2017 and 2018 when she achieved silver and bronze in the Beach Flags and Beach Sprints at the Australian Titles.
The Cronulla-raised Masters has overcome her fair share of obstacles throughout her career.
“I got sick in 2012 and I lost all my muscle,” she said.
“I got appendicitis the day after the Australian Titles. I won the U17’s Australian Beach Sprint and Flags title and the next day I was throwing up and couldn’t even walk through the airport because my stomach was so sore.
“(My appendix) almost ruptured, the doctors told me it was pretty dangerous. I was kept in hospital for a whole week recovering.
“I got out of hospital and noticed I had lost a lot of weight and muscle.
“It took me a good two to three years to get back to where I was as an athlete, I couldn’t even make a final, I was really struggling.
“Coming from being such a young talent, it was so hard to stay motivated and keep going to get back to the top. It was a big growth process for me as an athlete and in general everyday life. It taught me many life lessons.”
Masters plans on taking those lessons into the Oceans 6 Series before turning her attention to the State and Australian Titles.
Bree Masters’ key achievements:
- 2016 world sprint champion (Netherlands)
- 2016 world flags silver medallist (Netherlands)
- 2018 world sprint silver medallist (Adelaide)
- 2012 world youth U20 sprint and flags champion (Adelaide)
- 19 times Australian Gold Medallist
- Youngest ever Australian beach sprint champion (at just 13 years of age)