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The Gold Coast - Beautiful one day, Monstrous buildings seeking to devour us all next...

Here we are on the Gold Coast, people – THE FRICKEN’ GOLD COAST! The land of sun, surf, small bikinis, lifesavers, stretch hummers, small bikinis and skyscrapers. And small bikinis. This is the first elimination week so the team at the bottom of the cumulative leaderboard at the end of the week is gone. No returnsies.

As usual the week starts with a Spirit Challenge, and today in keeping with the coastal theme it’s a mini-ironman – swim, paddle, run. Just long enough to kill yourself. Only the top 3 teams get points so there’s gonna have to be a decent effort put in from the lower ranking teams. “It’s also a bit rough out there, so I don’t envy them,” says Kate forebodingly. It’s as if she’s doing the narration after the event or something.

During the event, each team is partnered with a lifesaver who will be competing with them the entire time for safety but can only help them if they really need it. Lisa smiles broadly at the camera as she talks about how she’d like to take on of the lifesavers home to read them a bed time story. It’s almost as if she’d devour them black-widow style. The teams decide who’s going to do the swim and paddle leg as they each have to do one, and for some teams it is a case of one person taking the thing they’re least crap at. The surf looks like it’s getting choppier (Kate knew, oh yes she did), but they’re off and racing anyway.

This is how you'd do an IronMan course if designed by IKEA.

Once they hit the water they vanish from sight it’s so rough. There’s a strong rip in play too so Lisa and others have run down the beach, causing Darryn to go red in the face – before she’s even hit the water Brant & Dipper are almost out. There’s chaos in the middle as some of the contestants (Kate, Ajay, Lisa, Gabby) struggle with the rip and the swell. Kate is brought in by her lifesaver (the pink team will get a penalty for that) and meanwhile at the front it’s the Orange, Yellow and Grey teams. Nathan’s being a drama queen more than usual so Dr Tim calls for the medic for him. K-Fed and the others are struggling with the boards now as wave after wave force them back to the beach. Poor John looses his shorts in the surf, noting “I’ve left shorts in every corner of Australia now”.

With Ajay & Lisa being brought in by their lifesavers they’re on a 30 second penalty so once they’ve served that they’re off up the beach to the boards, with Darryn convinced it’s up to him to get the Red team into a points scoring position because “If I don’t we’re going home this week”. With everyone else caught in the shorebreak, Darryn’s made it out around the buoy but then gets caught by a big wave. Where’s he gone? Cue eulogy. His board’s made it in, and Lisa runs down the beach to him and in all this chaos Ben from the Green team has made it out of the water first and he and Gabby are off down the beach for the win – with Darryn & Lisa (Red) sprinting down the beach behind them. Hooray for everything!

It’s a battle for third and the last of the points for this round. Lana (Orange) decides to call it knowing Dipper was gonna be disappointed. She’s really upset and feels bad for quitting. Sarah’s (Pink) digging in and gets around the buoy, as does K-Fed (Blue) and Matt (Purple). The race is on. “The last run to the finish line is the most important thing I’ll do all day,” says Ajay as she and Matt finish third. The other teams trail in behind them.

"So this is what it sounds like... when doves cry..."

Green took 5 points, Red with 3 points and Purple took 2 points. “We came from last to third, so we won in my heart,” says Matt. Checking into their hotel they check out the view, & Dr Christian wants to have a chat with a couple of teams that didn’t perform so well this week, starting with the Pink girls. He notes they’re using “defensive pessimism” to help them get through what may lead to an elimination for them. With Christine & Nathan (Yellow), Christine felt the Spirit Challenge was “harder than labour”. They’re both disappointed with their challenge finishing position but they know they need to get in there and do their best and that will be good enough.

Christian has the team ready for a gymnastics training session, and he notes that Nathan is ready to go. “I want a leotard,” says Nathan. “I’m sure we can arrange that for you,” says Christian, as everyone else covers their faces at the thought. Matt & Nathan have to train together today as both Christine & Ajay aren’t feeling well. There’s comedy gold (as far as Matt’s concerned) in the Matt/Nathan pairing. Darryn & Lisa get into the expected level of aggro and chaos. In the next part of the session the teams are jumping into a foam pit, which is all fun and games until Lisa jumps in and vanishes. “I’m just glad she got out of her comfort zone and got in there,” says Christian.

The teams learn that tomorrow’s Breakthrough Challenge for Kate & Sarah (Pink), Darryn & Lisa (Red) and K-Fed & Renae (Blue) is a trapeze session. There’s a generally happy mood at this news, especially from the teams that aren’t competing. Always hanging over them though is that this week is the first elimination, and someone will be going home.