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Surf Life Saving Illawarra
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Surf Sports Events
Surf Swimming

Competitors start on the beach, sprint into the surf, negotiate the break, swim an approximate 400m course around a coloured set of buoys and then back to shore, using the surf, then sprint across a finish line on the beach between two green flags. First past the line wins.


Surf Ski Paddling

Fibreglass surf skis are the fastest human powered craft. Paddlers start in the water and head out to sea, rounding three designated buoys laid in a triangular formation, then finish by crossing the finish line at the water's edge between two flags. The course is usually 700m long. There are single, double and ski relay races.


Board Paddling

From a beach start, competitors paddle a 3.5m fibreglass board through the break, around three buoys and back to shore over a 550m to 700m course. To finish, the competitor must drag/carry their board across a finish line about 10m up the beach. There are board, board rescue and board relay races.


Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB)

The basic procedure for IRB racing is for crews and their IRBs to start from near the shore, proceed out to the turning buoys, retrieve the patients on the seaward side of the buoys and then return to shore. The main aim of IRB racing is to improve the abilities of IRB drivers and crew members.


Surf Boat Rowing

One of the most exciting events in surf sports. A 5 person surf boat crew negotiates a very, very,very long course in an 8m wood/fibreglass boat.

R & R

The rescue and resuscitation event involves demonstrating that you have mastered traditional rescue methods and resuscitation procedures. Teams must show various skills using the reel, line and belt.

Belt Races

In a surf belt race, the competitors use the reel, line and belt. With a swimmer in the belt a team of lifesavers work the reel to give the swimmer a clean swim out to a designated colour buoy. Upon reaching the buoy the swimmer raises their arm to signal the finish of the race.


Ironman / Ironwoman

These events are the most widely recognised competition events. The race involves running, swimming, board paddling and ski paddling. Some ironwoman races do not have ski legs. Races can last anywhere between 15 minutes and up to four hours.

Beach Events

The individual beach sprint involves running up to 90m in the sand. The beach flags event involves a sharp turn from a prone position, followed by a sprint over 20m to grab a flag from the sand, where there is one less flag than competitor. Relays are contested between teams of four to twelve from one club, over the 90m sprint track.


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