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Surf sports is also increasingly providing a pathway to Olympic success, with the sport's top boat rowers, ski-paddlers and swimmers making the transition to rowing, kayaking and open water swimming. In open water swimming circles, the best-known Olympian from a surf lifesaving background is professional Ironman Ky Hurst, winner of 28 Australian Surf Life Saving Titles, who contested the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the Open Water Marathon.


OCEAN SPORTS The past few years have started to see a sharp growth in ocean sports not directly linked to traditional surf life saving. Sports that were once the sole domain of surf lifesavers – ocean swimming, board paddling and ocean paddling – have now been opened up to the public through new specialized events run by independent organisations or lifesaving clubs themselves. New participants are fl ooding to these ocean sports in huge numbers, and can do so without the oſt en cumbersome commitments required of being a lifesaver. Ocean swimming alone now has around 200 events annually


worldwide, and regular board paddling and ocean paddling events at ract high-quality fi elds and top-level prize money. There is every reason to believe that ocean sports will continue to grow and that more people will be at racted to this fantastic ocean lifestyle. For surf lifesaving the hope is that many of these new participants will enjoy the ocean so much that they also choose to become lifesavers and continue the iconic lifesaving service to the Australian public. ○


HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?


Internationally there are limited opportunities outside of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK to become a volunteer lifesaver. The culture of volunteering alone doesn’t exist in every country, and it is even scarcer when it comes to providing a volunteer lifesaving service, due to legal liability concerns. If you’re in a country that provides volunteer lifesavers, or


you’re about to move to a country that does, all you need to do to get involved is head on down to your nearest surf club and ask a member. If there’s no volunteer service in your country there are still opportunities to be employed as a lifeguard at pools, lagoons and beaches. For more information on lifesaving internationally visit:


International: ilsf.org Australia: sls.com.au New Zealand: surfl ifesaving.co.nz UK: slsgb.org.uk


Andre Slade is an experienced lifesaving professional with over 18 years' experience in water safety and aquatic education. A born and bred Kiwi, Andre is now based in Sydney, Australia where he operates his own ocean swimming business, OceanFit (oceanfi t.com.au) and is the managing editor of the Australian Lifeguard Magazine.


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