Meet the Crew: Mooloolaba Amcals

What an exciting round it was for Round 4 of the Staminade Quenchers qualifiers at Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast! Congratulations to the women’s qualifying crew, Mooloolaba Amcals who will represent Staminade at Round 4 of the Ocean Thunder Surf Boat Series at Dee Why Beach in Sydney on Saturday 4th February.

Introducing the crew!

Brenden ‘Westo’ Western (Sweep)

A life member of Mooloolaba SLSC, Brenden has over 30 years of surf boat experience.  He followed in his father’s footsteps, transitioning from rower to sweep in 1996.  At the Liar’s Bar 2003 he caught the eye of Sara (2nd Stroke), who shared his passion for surf boats, and in 2005 they formed the Mooloolaba Amcals.  His list of accomplishments includes three Australian titles and a World title.  Out of the boat, Brenden is a newly qualified teacher, who loves spending time with his two children.

Leah ‘Spreadsheets’ McKenzie (Stroke)

Leah was a member of the 2011 and 2013 Australian Title, and World title winning team, after chasing the swell down from Emu Park with her husband in 2010.  An engineer by day, Leah is the organiser of the crew, who loves nothing more than sinking her teeth into a delicious Excel spreadsheet.  It’s just as well, with three little ones at home to keep her on her toes, including a 3-year-old and 1-year-old twins.  Needless to say, in her spare time Leah enjoys sleeping.

Sara ‘Sanka’ Western (2nd Stroke)

Sara may be the wife of the sweep; but don’t expect any preferential treatment.  In fact, a disclaimer from Brenden early in their relationship was that they must win a national title together before they could get married.  The longest standing member of the crew, Sara has won three Australian Titles and a World title.  It’s been 9 years since the Amcals last did Ocean Thunder – finishing equal second on both occasions; however, they are most famous for the spectacular collision they had with Bilgola in 2006.  Sara is known as the spokeswomen of the crew and knowing almost everyone on the beach.

Molly ‘Mad Molly’ Stewart (2nd Bow)

Molly joined the crew this year after a short hiatus to raise her two daughters.  Keeping it in the family, Molly’s husband is also a rower and sweep.  She was a member of the Noosa Open Women’s crew who took out back to back Australian Opens in 2004 and 2005, and one of the eight crews invited to the Ocean Thunder women’s demonstration round back in 2005.  When she’s not pulling an oar, Molly is running a childcare centre and baking her world renowned ‘Molly’s Muffins’.

Hannah ‘Wrecking Ball’ O’Brien (Bow)

Hannah might be the baby of the crew, but nobody puts baby in the corner – they put her in the bow!  A junior Champion Lifesaver, and First Aid National medalist, she is the perfect person to be sitting up the pointy end next to the rescue tube.  Hannah was a late addition to the crew after her predecessor suffered a season ending back injury, and she had big shoes to fill.  But despite this being only her third season of surf boats – and only second in the bow – Hannah has been the perfect fit.