The Sport of Lifesaving has a long and proud history within the Surf Life Saving community and continues to play a significant role in ensuring that out members have the ability, confidence and passion to meet the challenging environments which Surf Life Saving delivers its essential lifesaving service.
With early recordings of sport activity starting around 1912, lifesaving and sport have worked hand in hand for an organisation with volunteers at it's heart. You just have to talk with one of the many Life Members of Surf Life Saving about their involvement and the epic stories of huge surf, rescues they have performed and classic road trips to the many sport competitions to be inspired to say yes and become a part of the movement.
Lifesaving Sport competitions are enjoyed by our young Junior Surf members from the age of seven through to our experienced Masters. Like all sports delivered, we have an amazing support network of Coaches, Officials, Team Managers and many more volunteers that bind sport together and deliver a Great "Experience" for everyone involved.
About Lifesaving Sport
Lifesaving is not only a skill but a true multidiscipline sport. Throughout the year sporting fixtures include both beach, sea, open water and still water events. During these events,individuals or teams compete in a series of events. Each event aims to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of lifesaving principles and techniques. The run-swim-run is the most common and demonstrates the basic need to be strong swimmer in the sea. Speed races also offer ideal practise for the rescuing of a conscious and unconcious patients in sea conditions. Returning a casualty to shore through the surf is a difficult task and the best non-powered craft available for lifeguards to reach a casualty and return to shore is the malibu rescue board (Mal) used throughout training. The fastest non powered craft known as the Surf Ski which is also raced as a perfect way to practise skills of negotiating surf. Fitness plays a key role in lifeguarding and races and other team relays all strengthen an individuals athletic ability and enables vital seconds to be saved in responding to a situation. Beach events such as sprints all hone lifeguards responses and actions to sounds as well as giving them a cutting edge on explosive starts. For more information on Lifesaving sport events, visit the SLSA Wales calander page.
Surf Race - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver has to swim 400 meters through the surf. Start and finish are on the beach.
Board Race - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver has to paddle with rescue board 600 meters through the surf. Start and finish are on the beach.
Ski Race - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver has to paddle with a surf ski 700 meters through the surf. Start and finish are on the beach.
Beach Sprint - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver has to run 90 meters on the beach.
Beach Run - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver has to run one or two kilometres on the beach.
Beach Flags - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver lies down in the sand. After the whistle they run 20 meters trying to obtain a baton (beach flag) in the sand. There are fewer batons than lifesavers. They who get a baton go to the next round.
Oceanman/Oceanwoman - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver has to do the surf race, the board race, the ski race and a final run on the beach. This discipline is the ultimate discipline during competitions in ocean events.
Rescue Tube Rescue Race - Team event where the victim is to save by the rest of the team. The lifesaver runs into the water with his/her fins and rescue tube, pulls on the fins and swims to the victim who is waiting at a buoy. After fixing the victim in the rescue tube they return to the beach where two helpers are standing in the water take over the rescue and carry the victim into the finish on to the beach.
Board Rescue Race - Team event of two competitors where the swimmer swims to the buoy. When arriving he will be saved by the lifesaver on a rescue board. They both paddle back to the beach.
Oceanman/Oceanwoman (former Taplin) Relay - Lifesaving relay where one lifesaver does the surf race, one lifesaver the board race, one lifesaver the ski race and another lifesaver a final run on the beach.
Beach Relay - A relay runs 4 x 90 meters over the beach.
100 m Manikin Carry With Fins - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver with fins swims 50 meters, dives to recover a submerged manikin to the surface and carries the manikin the remaining distance.
100 m Rescue Medley - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver swims 50 meters freestyle, dives and swims underwater (15m for women, 20m for men) to recover a submerged manikin to the surface and carries the manikin the remaining distance.
50 m Manikin Carry - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver swims 25 meters freestyle, dives to recover a submerged manikin to the surface and carries the manikin the remaining distance.
100 m Manikin Tow With Fins - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver with fins and rescue tube swims 50 meters freestyle, fixes the rescue tube around a floating manikin and tows it the remaining distance.
200 m Super Lifesaver - Individual’s discipline where a lifesaver swims 75 meters freestyle, dives to recover a submerged manikin and carries the manikin 25 meters, dons his fins and a rescue tube and swims 50 meters freestyle, fixes the tube around a floating manikin and tows it the remaining distance.
4x50 m Obstacle Relay - Each lifesaver swims 50 meters freestyle passing under 2 obstacles.
4x25 m Manikin Relay - Each lifesaver carries the manikin 25 meter
4x50 m Medley Relay - The first lifesaver swims 50m freestyle, the second one 50m with fins, the third 50m pulling a rescue tube and number 4 with fins takes over the rescue tube and tows number 3 holding the rescue tube.
Line Throw - Team event of two competitors where the lifesaver throws a lifeline to a victim in the water and pulls him to the poolside.
Competitions have a long and proud history within the Surf Life Saving movement and caters for Juniors through to Masters. Click below for more information.
Coaching is a rewarding way to contribute to your community, stay involved and give
back to your surf club. Click below to learn more.
From local surf carnivals to our National Championships, Lifesaving Sport needs great
officials. Being a surf official is a rewarding way to stay involved and contribute to the
ongoing development of the sport, and to meet others who share a common passion
for it. Click below to learn more about our courses.
Learn more about our Teams, International Competitions and follow the action of our World class athletes.
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Photo credits Tony John