SURF LIFESAVING: It wasn't that long ago Karlee Nurthen seemed cursed by the surf.
But now the Mooloolaba ironwoman is enjoying a winning run and she's getting the lucky breaks as well.
Nurthen won round two of the Surf Ironwoman Qualification Series in thrilling fashion yesterday when she surprised Noosa Heads' Jordan Mercer at the finish.
Mercer eased near the line and Nurthen suddenly slipped through to snatch victory.
The result propelled her up the series standings and followed her stunning showing in another Summer of Surf event at Coffs Harbour a week ago.
On that occasion, she won all six of her events to dominate proceedings.
It's all a stark turnaround for the 19-year-old, who has previously been stricken by bad luck and near-misses.
She finished last summer's Surf Ironwoman Qualifying Series in sixth position (three places outside the promotion zone) and in September finished the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series Trials in sixth place (outside the qualifying top four).
During the trials, she was in a good position at times but got cruelled by rogue waves that broke her ski on one occasion and nearly snapped her board.
Nurthen experienced more ill-fortune in the first round of the SIQS at Alexandra Headland last month when she was in a strong spot but missed a can and lost time going back around.
"So to come away with a win now, I'm so happy about that," she said.
Nurthen had considered her future in the sport following the trials at Salt Beach, but that disappointing result and the bad luck she had there ultimately steeled her resolve.
"I think my determination is definitely up now," she said.
"Nothing really went right in the trials so I've put my head down and tried really hard at training and I've definitely improved.
"I think that was the push that I needed, not making it into the ironwoman series (via the trials).
"It actually just made me want to get better and made me want to train more."
The top three athletes from the seven-round qualifying series will earn spots in the 2015-16 Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series.
Also yesterday, Kendrick Louis won round two of the Surf Ironman Qualifying IroSeries.