Redhead ironman Isak Costello

IRONMAN: Isak Costello at the Endurance surf lifesaving titles at Blacksmiths Beach. Picture: Jonathan CarrollREDHEAD ironman Isak Costello is hoping a tough off-season on the ski with two-time Olympic paddler Peter Scott has him primed to take on Australia’s best, then the world, in the next two weeks.

The 17-year-old heads to Salt Beach in Kingscliff, on the NSW far north coast, on Thursday to prepare for trials for the Australian ironman series this weekend.

He then catches a flight out from the Gold Coast on Monday to Japan with the national team for the International Surf Rescue Challenge.

Costello is one of six males in the 12-strong Australian Youth (20 years and under) team for the Japan event, which will be held from September 16-25.

It will be the Costello’s first time representing his country and comes after his Australian under-19 surf swim victory in April. He was also part of Redhead’s win in the under-19 taplin relay and silver medal in the under-19 swim relay.

Redhead clubmate Jessica Collins and Swansea-Belmont’s Sam Earp were in the inaugural youth team for the world rescue titles in Adelaide last year.

Costello is the sole Hunter representative this year and is hoping it will not be the last time he wears the green and gold.

“Only four water competitors were picked and there were about eight of us who could have made it,” Costello said. “I was lucky enough to be one of them and I’ve still got a couple of more years in the age group as well.”

But first he is focused on making the elite national ironman series, which has come to Newcastle for the past two years.

Last year, Costello finished 12th to narrowly miss a top-10 place and a berth on the series.

This year, three heats will be held on Saturday morning to decide 16 places in the three-round trials held Saturday and Sunday. Only the top four men and women after the rounds are guaranteed a place.

The apprentice plumber, who works for Scott, hoped an improved ski leg would make the difference this time.

“Those top guys have been doing it a lot longer than I have and that’s probably the hardest leg to learn,” Costello said.

“But it’s just good having Pete as a mentor because he’s done it before and he knows what it takes to get there.”

Although prepared, Costello was expecting a tougher test at the trials this year.

“There are a lot of good guys going around this year, a lot of older guys who haven’t been in it for a while,” he said.

“But it should be good just to get some racing and experience against those guys.”

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