Kendrick Louis grew up idolising Shannon Eckstein - but boy, wouldn't he love to wipe the smile off his face.
As Eckstein attempts to further layer his legacy by adding a seventh national ironman series title to his resume, second-placed Louis will attempt the seemingly impossible by spoiling his childhood hero's planned party.
Mooloolaba's Louis, who said it wasn't unusual to see Eckstein smiling while competing, is 56 points behind the surf lifesaving great ahead of Sunday's final round at Noosa.
For the 22-year-old to secure his maiden series triumph, he needs to win the eliminator-format round and hope Eckstein finishes worse than ninth.
Underling the unlikelihood of that occurring, Northcliffe star Eckstein hasn't finished outside the top three in any of the previous five rounds.
"He knows exactly what to do to win," Louis said of Eckstein.
"In saying that, all us boys want to get out there and give him a fight - fight all the way to the finish line."
At age 29 and with nothing more to prove in the sport, Eckstein races with a freedom that seems foreign to his hungry young rivals.
The five-time Australian ironman champion and reigning three-time world ironman champion spoke about the pressure facing many of his rivals after winning round five at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast last Sunday.
He said he still experienced pre-race nerves, but competed relaxed because it was now "just a sport" to him, while "for the other boys it's a weight on their shoulders".
Louis summed up Eckstein's race-day disposition, and how hard it is to beat him, by noting that he's always ready for a battle.
"He can have a smile on his face or be laughing or have a furious look, but he's already to race," said Louis.
"It was the same at Coolum. He fell off the ski.
"I don't think at one point there he got flustered or anxious. It's a huge ask to beat a guy like that."