Life Saving Events Guide
Life Saving has evolved considerably over its 100 year history. Some events have come and gone, while other remain.
The surf race is the main stay of club competition. The simple surf race involves swimming around a course of buoys placed out in the ocean, but there are several variations. For example, the belt race requires the swimmer to wear one of the old lifesaving belts (no longer used for rescues). It is a team effort with four linesmen to ensure the right amount of drag is achieved to make the swimmers job easier.
Sprinting on a beach where Juniors and Masters compete over 70m, while over 15s up to seniors compete over 90 metres. This distance sometimes depends on the amount of beach available at the time. The relay consists of four competitors.
Beach flags is a traditional event that has existed since the very beginning of life saving. It involves a group of lifesavers competing for flags (pieces of hose-pipe). An athlete is ‘knocked-out’ each time and eventually there is a run-off between two lifesavers. The person who wins the flag, wins the event.
The Ironman / Ironwoman is often seen as the blue ribbon event of surf life saving, and is the focus of the Nurtigrain series. This endurance event involves three legs (swim, board, ski, with a running transition between each leg). There is a slightly easier version of the ironman for Under 15 and Under 17 competitors. It only requires the competitors to complete the board and the swim sections and leaves out the ski leg.
Surf skis are similar to kayaks. For freedom in the surf, ski paddlers are not bound in to their craft like a kayak. Surf skis come in single and double versions. The Double ski requires the same as single but with the addition of teamwork: Synchronisation is the key to a double ski race. The actual race involves racing around a set of pyramid shaped buoys. The event requires balance, coordination, power and endurance.
The board race is done by using a racing malibu board. It also involves negotiating the break and then following a set course of buoys. You then return to shore surfing the waves back to the beach. First over the line is the winner. The board race requires balance, strength and endurance.
A team consists of three competitors and just the one board. The first team member paddles out and goes around the buoy then heads back towards the shore and swaps with the second team member who does the same. The final team member has to complete the same course and then cross the finish line. The first team to successfully pass all the buoys and cross the finish line will be declared the winner.
This event consists of a team of 6 competitors (2 swimmers, 2 board paddlers and 2 ski paddlers). It is a true test of the depth of competitors in any club.
Teams of four rowers and their sweep must row out through the surf, turn around a buoy no less than 400m offshore and then row back to the beach. Elements of physical fitness, techincal ability and a little bit of guts are required to be a “boatie”.
Board riding is also conducted as part of surf lifesaving, and follows a similar format to other surfing events. Shortboard and longboard divisions are contested.
The March Past
A team of twelve club members march around a rectangular course on the beach to music led by their Flag Bearer carrying a club flag and a reel party carrying a traditional surf reel. They are judged on eight separate sections these are; Time & Step, Arm Swing, Leg Action, Body Carriage, Covering, Spacing & Dressing, Wheeling & Length of Pace. The team with the least amount of faults wins the competition.
Rescue & Resuscitation (R&R)
This event involves demonstrations in the traditional rescue and resuscitation procedures. The member of the team must swim out to the patient with the belt and line once the person reaches the patient they are hauled back to waist depth and begin resuscitation procedures. The team with the least mistakes and therefore the lowest score wins.