This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SURF LIFESAVING


Ironman racing is the ultimate in surf sports; a three-leg event that includes a surf swim, board paddle and ski paddle, mixed with beach runs. Ironman is eff ectively the ‘triathlon of surf lifesaving' and is not to be confused with the Ironman of the ‘swim-bike-run’ variety. In the 1980s and 90s professional Ironman racing was one of Australia’s most popular summer sports. Its athletes were well-paid superstars, and the events were broadcast to huge TV audiences. But public interest in Ironman events has dimmed over the years, and at empts to revive the sport have largely failed to restore the lustre the sport enjoyed in its glory days.


OCEAN SWIMMING ALONE NOW HAS AROUND 200 EVENTS ANNUALLY WORLDWIDE Yet surf sports continue to be a strong core of the surf


lifesaving movement, and tens of thousands of lifesavers compete in events at club, state and national level each summer. Again, this is to maintain fi tness and provide sport and recreation opportunities that act as an eff ective means of at racting and retaining members.


The largest of the surf sports events is the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, aff ectionately know as the ‘Aussies’, which brings together surf lifesaving clubs and members from across the country, with over 8,000 athletes of all ages contesting around 300 events, in what is always an action-packed week of competition. The Aussies is a celebration of the lifesaving movement and an opportunity for surf lifesavers from around Australia to display their talents. Internationally, surf sports are also continuing to develop, so


providing opportunities for countries to not only come together to compete, but also to share and strengthen lifesaving networks, friendships and knowledge.


A HISTORY OF SURF LIFESAVING


Before 1902 it was illegal to swim on Australian beaches during daylight hours, having been banned aſt er 1838 due to 'morality' concerns.


Then, one summer day in 1902, William Gocher from Sydney openly defi ed this law and bathed at Manly Beach. History tells us that he was arrested for his indiscretion, but that no charges were laid. Between 1902-1905 this single courageous action led to the repealing of local by-laws restricting bathing in daylight, and subsequently surf-bathing began to grow in popularity. The problem with this was that most beach-goers could not swim, and there was no awareness of the surf environment and its dangers. The result was that many people drowned. And so it was that, in 1907, the fi rst surf lifesaving clubs emerged. Which was the fi rst remains hotly debated, with Sydney’s Bondi SBSLSC and Bronte SLSC still arguing the toss over this. The important thing, though, was that these clubs provided patrols that reassured and protected the public as they bathed. The ensuing 100 years or so has seen many landmark moments for surf lifesaving. There was the introduction of Bronze Medallions in 1910 for qualifi ed surf lifesavers, although we had to wait rather longer for women to become eligible to qualify as lifesavers (1980). In 1923, meanwhile, patrol fl ags were fi rst used to designate safe swimming locations. In present-day Australia there is a total of 310 surf lifesaving clubs, whose combined membership of 160,000 helps save over 14,000 lives every year.


The Lifesaving World Championships are held every two years and


at ract competitors from 40 nations. In 2012 the event will be hosted in Adelaide, Australia. The Championships are the largest international lifesaving sport competition in the world, with between 4,000-6,000 competitors taking part, from juniors through to masters.


Surf lifesaving as a sport has become a global phenomenon. Competitors are pictured taking part in a board paddle race at the 2011 British Senior Life Saving Championships


56


Photo © fi shnet.com.au


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76