Board and Ski events include:

Single Surf Ski Race – from a floating start, competitors paddle their surf ski around three buoys and return to the finish line. The finish is judged when any part of the surf ski crosses the finish line with the competitor and their paddle all in contact.

Double Surf Ski Races – from a floating start, competitors (two per ski) paddle their ski around three buoys and return to the finish line. The finish is judged when any part of the ski crosses the finish line with both team members and at least one paddle in contact with the ski.

Surf Board Races – from the beach (standing start) each competitor enters the water with their surf board, paddles around all buoys and returns to the beach. The winner is judged by the first competitor to cross the finish line on their feet and in conact with their board.

Surf Board / Surf Ski Relay – teams of three competitors compete in a relay format over a course similar to the respective individual races. After rounding the buoys and returning to the beach the first competitor runs around two turning flags to tag the second competitor. The second competitor then completes the course and tags the final competitor. The race finishes when the final competitor rounds all buoys, returns to the beach and runs to the finish line.


Swimming ability is a prime factor in surf lifesaving. SLSA Swimming events have been designed to encourage members to keep fit for lifesaving duties. Events include:

Surf Race – the Surf Race involves swimmers starting on the beach and then running, wading and swimming about 170metres to sea to round as set of buoys and then return to the beach. The event concludes with a run finish to the flags placed on the beach

Belt Race – the Surf Belt race involves the use of the surf reel, line and belt and is one of the most prestigious and traditional races in surf lifesaving competition. The event begins on the beach with the swimmer placing the belt around their waist and towing a surf line out to their allocated buoy and signalling their finish. The Belt swimmer is assisted by three linesmen and a reel handler.

Rescue Tube Rescue race – the rescue tube rescue event features four team members: a patient, a rescue tube swimmer and two rescuers/assisters. The event commences with the patient swimming to their allocated buoy and signalling back to the beach. The rescue tube swimmer then swims to rescue the patient with the assistance of swimming fins and a rescue tube. Upon arrival at the buoy the rescue tube swimmer harnesses the patient into the tubes and swims back to the beach. As the rescue tube swimmer and patient approach the shore the two rescuers enter the water to assist in getting the patient across the finish line.

Rescue Tube Race (two person) – the two person rescue tube race is similar to the 4 person rescue tube rescue race except without the assistance of the two rescuers. The patient swims out to the buoy, signals the rescue tube swimmer who then swims out (with the assistance of fins), collects the patient and swim them back to the finish line on the beach.

Rescue Tube Race – the rescue tube race is contested on the same course as the surf belt race. When the race commences the competitors must run up the beach to collect their rescue tube, turn and race to the water and swim to their allocated buoy to signal their finish of the race.

Run-Swim-Run – this event is run across a normal swimming course with the competitors commencing the race by running approximately 200metres to round a flag on the beach before embarking on a swim around a set of buoys and then back to the beach. Once the competitors complete the swim leg they must then run around the same flag as the start of the race and sprint to the finish.

Beach Events

Beach events are held on the sand and included events such as:

Beach sprint – competitors race on a straight sand course of approximately 70 – 90metres to the finishing line.

Beach relay – teams of 4 competitors race on a straight sand course of approximately 70 – 90metres with a baton, running one lap each. The final runner of a team over the finish line wins.

Beach flags – competitors start lying on their stomach facing away from a baton/s buried in the sand approximately 15 – 20metres away. There is always less batons than competitors. On the starting gun, competitors rise, turn and race to secure a baton. The competitor(s) who fail to obtain a baton are eliminated. The process repeats until there is a single winner.

2km Beach run – competitors race on a sand course in four laps of 500metres to total approximately 2km.

Multi Discipline Events

Ironman/Ironwoman – The Ironman and Ironwoman events are conducted over a course consisting of three legs, including a swim, a surf ski and a surf board. The race concludes with a beach sprint to the finish line. The order of the legs may vary and is decided by draw prior to the event.

Taplin Relay – Teams of swimmers, board paddlers and ski paddlers, compete together as a team relay over an Ironman course. The order of the legs may vary and is decided by draw prior to the event.

The Taplin Relay event may be conducted in three person (one swimmer, one surf board and one surf ski paddler), six person (two competitors for each water leg), or four person (one competitor per water leg plus a beach sprinter to complete the race) variations.

Lifesaver Relay – Teams shall be comprised of nine competitors including one surf boat crew, one swimmer, one surf board paddler, one surf ski paddler and one beach sprinter. This event is conducted over a course consisting of a surf boat, a surf ski, a surf board, a swim and a beach sprint. The surf boat leg will always be the first leg as will the beach sprint always concluding the race. The order of the other legs are drawn by ballot. Each leg shall follow a course from the beach out to sea, rounding buoys and returning to tag the next leg competitors.

Cameron Relay – Teams of four competitors comprising of a surf board paddler, surf swimmer and two runners compete in this relay. The order of the water legs are drawn by ballot. The first competitor enters the water, rounds the buoys and returns to shore where they tag the first runner. The first runner rounds turning flags and tags the next competitor who round the buoys and tags the last runner. The last runner runs to the finish line.

Surf Board Rescue Race – This two-person event comprises of a surf swimmer and a surf board paddler. The race commences with the swimmer swimming to their allocated buoy and then signalling back to the beach for their board paddler to come out and collect them. Once the paddler reaches the swimmer, the two paddle their board back to beach and cross the finish line.

Life Saving Events

Lifesaving events include:

Champion Lifesaver – this event provides an individual the opportunity to demonstrate their physical and mental skills required to be a lifesaver. The skills include a Surf Life Saving questionnaire, resuscitation, surf race, surf board race, beach sprint and a rescue tube race. A point score based on the results achieved determines the winner.

Patrol Competition – the aim of the patrol competition is to demonstrate how surf lifesavers work as a team in performing some or all skills associated with surf rescue patrol work. Team members in the patrol competition must be from the same club. The patrol competition includes a number of physical skills, practical and theory tasks involving racing, rescue and/or first aid situations.

First Aid Competition – the first aid competition is a team event, and is conducted with a set simulated accident scenario and a time limit for each team. The time limit is advised prior to the commencement of competition. Judging is based on SLSA First Aid standards.