RESOLUTE ironmen and determined ladies will be invited to pit their hardened sinews against the best of the best as GoldCoast Oceanfest introduces a new tough-as-nails event to run alongside its traditional Aquathon. Consisting of the most durable 24 men

RESOLUTE ironmen and determined ladies will be invited to pit their hardened sinews against the best of the best as GoldCoast Oceanfest introduces a new tough-as-nails event to run alongside its traditional Aquathon.Consisting of the most durable 24 men - and 24 women - ever to enter the surf, the Legacy Elite Ironman/Diamond Lady contest will be a gruelling eliminator testing stamina, endurance and will power.It tops off a morning and afternoon of contests at the festival in Croyde on Saturday, June 21, which includes the popular mainstay of the GoldCoast Aquathon.But two new events have been added this year, with young athletes of the future getting the chance to have a go as the North Devon Interclub Nipper Challenge surf lifesaving event returns for the first time since 2000.Boys and girls from Croyde, Woolacombe, Bideford Bay and Saunton clubs will compete in run-swim-run events - as will Aquathon adults a little later - from 9.30am, together with board races, board rescue, ocean person, a one kilometre run, cameron relay and beach relay.It will be a team event, with only the first three finishers from each team will counting towards their overall score.The "nippers" will be encouraged to watch the traditional Aquathon following their event, as athletes undertake a gruelling course of a one km run, one km swim and then a four k run amongst the dunes.Then the Elite hit the sands and surf for an invitation-only competition at around 1.30pm which will really separate the good from the great.It will be a cruel eliminator format, based on three legs of the traditional sprint races of swim, paddle board and surf ski..The final will see the last 16 athletes battle for the title of GoldCoast champion.On Sunday, June 22 at 11.30am some of them will be at it again, as the Big Boy Paddle Race - a 2.4 km sprint from Saunton, around Downend and into Croyde Bay - returns.It is traditionally open to boards up to 10 feet in length and attracts those going for glory along with those raising money for good causes and in some cases, in memory of a loved one.This year there will be a difference with stand-up paddlers and rescue board paddlers invited to take part unofficially in terms of prize money and times. International Iron Man and defending champion, Nick Thorn is chasing a fourth successive and fifth overall title, but hot on his heels will be previous winner and Croyde charger Andrew 'Cottie' Cotton, while local guns Ed Knight and Connor Spears will be seeking to break the mould and usher in a new era. Visit www.goldcoastoceanfest.co.uk for ticket and events information if you want to enter.