February 20 - 26, 2022: Issue 527


Mona Vale SLSC Boaties Need An Aussies 2022 Boost: MV's Fluffy Ducks, Venom + Drifters

By MVSLSC Boaties Supporter 

What do Mona Vale SLSC’s Boat Crews Venom, the Fluffy Ducks and the Drifters have in common?

They are the young men and women of Mona Vale Surf Lifesaving Club’s Boat Division, and they need our help. 

Currently they face one main challenge and it's not Covid. The Mona Vale crews need 2 sets of new oars, a new club tent, new rowlocks and some team gear.  All this will cost around $10,000 and the crews have launched a raffle with brilliant prizes far exceeding the price of a ticket to meet these costs. Golf for 4, a case of Towler’s Bay wine, and even a Tom Carrol designed and signed surfboard, and more, are up for grabs. 

You can buy tickets HERE

When considering Mona Vale Beach was one of the first places to have a surf rescue boat, the next generation seeking to continue this tradition is one we can all understand and want to see realised. 

For context, in 1908, an item in Warringah Shire Minutes of Meetings reads:

14th August 1908: 51st Meeting, Minutes - Motions – Purchase of life boat – CR. Powell and Cr. Quirk, seconded the following motion: That the Works Committee report on the advisability of purchasing a life-boat for Mona Vale and establishing a life-boat Brigade – carried unanimously 

By the end of that year:

The North Steyne Surf Club journeyed from Manly to Mona Vale on December 12, and gave life-saving exhibitions on the beach, which proved interesting, as well as instructive. In the evening, the visitors were entertained at dinner by the Mona Vale Surf Club and residents. President A. Ralston (of the Warringah Shire) presided, and thanked the visiting life-savers for their beach display. He said the local club bad been doing good work, and would now be better able to cope with accidents. The other speakers included Councillor Powell, Mr. C. D. Paterson (captain North Steyne Surf Club), Mr. S.A. Rigney (secretary N.S.S.C.), Rev. F. R. Ford. Councillor Quirk, and Mr. E. Lincoln. SOCIAL ITEMS. (1908, December 19). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113762480

Their aim is to represent their community and club at the 2022 Aussies - the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. 

On December 7th 2021 Surf Life Saving Australia announced the 2022 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, held over nine days from April 2nd, will relocate to Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. Perth, which had planned to host the 2022 Championships, swapped event dates with the Gold Coast, due to Covid safety restrictions and border closures in Western Australia.  Perth will now host the 2023 Aussies.

Surf Life Saving Australia President John Baker ESM said the event swap would provide absolute clarity for surf clubs and members planning for the 2022 Aussies. 

“We are very pleased to be able to announce the success of negotiations which now allows a straight swap of locations between the 2022 and 2023 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships,” Mr. Baker ESM said. 

“The Gold Coast, Queensland is a location that is a well-known venue for the Aussies, and I’m sure that there’ll be plenty of excitement about being able to return to Broadbeach a year earlier than planned. 

Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the event swap followed the Palaszczuk Government’s recent ten-year deal to host the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Queensland. 

“This will bring our decade-long deal with Australian Surf Life Saving to host the Championships forward a year to support tourism jobs on the Gold Coast for our Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Mr Hinchliffe said.    

“We’ve worked closely with Surf Life Saving Australia to help them navigate around the pandemic’s logistical challenges on the West Coast by bringing the Aussies to Broadbeach. 

Queensland will play host to eight editions of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships between 2022 and 2031 with the exact locations still to be determined beyond 2022, but locations will be shared between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. 

The surf boat events will this year be held on Kurrawa Beach, Queensland, commencing Wednesday April 6th. 

Kurrawa Beach has the most extensive beach reserve of all the beach sections on the Gold Coast. The wide reserve runs for 1.5 km and incorporates the Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club, the newest on the Gold Coast, being founded in 1958, together with a range of public facilities. The word ‘Kurrawa’ means “rough sea” or ‘’blue sea’’.

The Aussies will see members from Australia’s 314 Surf Clubs come together to compete in more than 480 beach and ocean events. The first 'Australian Surf Life Saving Championships' of a kind were held at Bondi Beach on Saturday March 20th 1915. This initial edition had only a few events and clubs competing and could have been called a south Sydney versus north Sydney competition with North Steyne, Dee Why, Freshwater and Manly coming up against Coogee, Clovelly, Bondi and Cronulla. The events were; a tug-of-war, surf swim race, alarm reel race, rescue and resuscitation, a 100 yards on sand sprint and a grand parade, all of which attracted 7000 spectators. State championships between other clubs were also happening under the auspices of the Royal Life Saving Society.

The prohibitive cost of surf boats and not a wide ownership of these in most of the fairly newly formed clubs possibly contributed to them not being part of that first Aussies. Locally five clubs were slated to be provided by the then Warringah Shire Council in 1914; Newport, North Narrabeen, Collaroy, Deewhy and Freshwater.

World War 1 precluded any other forms of 'Aussies' until after that conflict, and notably, 1919 was suspended due to the fear of the Flu pandemic, this being mentioned in the records as the primary issue against holding a carnival.

Saturday March 13, 1920 saw a return to championships on Bondi beach, and included surf boat races with North Narrabeen and Freshwater claiming 1st and 2nds in the senior and junior divisions. This was still a limited club participation carnival though; Cooks Hill being the only club outside the Sydney metropolitan clubs competing. On October 2nd, 1923, according to the newspapers of the time, the name was changed:

It is now sixteen years since the surf clubs banded together and formed the N.S.W. Surf bathers' Association. The organisation was re-christened the N.S.W. Surf Life-saving Association, and It is now world famous. Last Tuesday the name was again changed to The Surf Life-saving Association of Australia ... SURFING SEASON'S PREPARATIONS (1923, October 5). Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103541659

In 1991 the name was changed to the current day Surf Life Saving Australia.

Surf boats, which can trace their lineage back the original rescue boats off our shores, and even further back to Viking long boats, epitomise what is best about the surf life saving movement; Vigilance and Service. That’s just one reason why it is vital to encourage and support the next generation to carry forward that original lifeline for thousands.

Surfboat rowing is a truly iconic Australian sport. The rowers develop unique and vital relationships as a team. Crew members build high levels of fitness and surf skills due to the intense physical strength and endurance required. The crew must have good communication and trust between them. 

The young Mona Vale Boaties are often up in the early morning hours training on Pittwater. They then head off to school, TAFE, Uni or work only to return at the end of the day for yet more training. 

Rowing in surf boats brings out your perseverance, tenacity, allows you to acquire a knowledge of boat-craft and technical skills, promotes sports-personship and connects you to a love of the great outdoors that is shared with your fellow boaties right across Australia. Not only is it the ultimate team sport event, it provides a community for life. 

To be part of a surfboat crew you must be an active member of a surf club. You need to have a bronze medallion in surf rescue and to fulfil regular beach patrols as a volunteer across the Season. 

They spend their weekends either providing the essential community service of patrolling the beach as volunteer Surf Lifesavers or representing the club rowing up and down the East Coast. 

The Mona Vale SLSC Crews have developed and grown together under the mentorship of their sweeps. It has been amazing to watch them evolve common skills.

Through their loyalty they epitomise the Australian ethos of mateship and “looking out for your mate” but it is not just their own mates they look out for. This group of 16–22-year old Boaties are also dedicated to making the world a better place for others. 

All of these young people have borne witness to the effects of the youth mental health crisis in our area. Several of them have lost good friends to suicide or been active in saving the lives of others on the verge of desperation. Their involvement with pushing back was evident last year when they participated in “The 24 Hour Row” for Gus Worland’s, “Gotcha4Life”. These Boaties want change for the next generation of boys and girls. 

One crew member is also involved with the local Youth Council and provides a voice for other young people to the those in local government. Other MVSLSC Boatie members regularly volunteer for aid projects overseas in remote places in Timor Leste and in Brazil.

The Boat Crews; Venom, the Drifters and The Fluffy Ducks are not only great young people doing a lot for our community and others, they are also are representing us at a national level. 

This weekend we had our 3 crews swept by Nathan Wilson at the 2022 ASRL Open- they did exceptionally well in tough conditions. The Fluffy Ducks through to the quarter finals, Drifters to the finals and at the mercy of the waves the Venom crew came out strong but then came 4th in the final with the tinniest margin. 

Having already endured two disrupted seasons because of Covid, and like the rest of us, been in lockdown or quarantine, these Mona Vale Boatie crews are ‘champing at the bit’ to meet and exceed their potential. We need to encourage and support them. 

As one parent said this week;

''We must help get them the gear they need to compete at Aussies and do what they do best in the surf!''

Please, buy a raffle ticket.

Aussies 2022 Event Timetables are available at: https://sls.com.au/aussies/ 

2022 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships Gold Coast locations: 

  • Open, U19, U17, Masters water events – Broadbeach SLSC 
  • U13, U14 & U15 Youth Championships – North Kirra SLSC  
  • Open, U19, U17, Masters beach events – Kurrawa SLSC  
References - Notes

  1. TROVE - National Library of Australia
  2. SLSA records



Representatives of the surf clubs in the Warringah Shire met the councillors by arrangement to settle several matters in connection with the improvement of surf bathing on the beaches from Freshwater to Barrenjoey. The first representative called by President Quirk, was Mr. G. N. King, from North Narrabeen, who said that Messrs. G. O. Young (Freshwater). T. Patison (Deewhy), and him-self were appointed to go into the question of the cost and size of a surf boat. 

After investigation they found that for five boats, 16ft long, the cost would be £132 16s 5d. Regarding contributions from the various clubs, Deewhy was prepared to give £5 towards the boat's completion and to provide the labor towards the erection of a shed to house it when built. Collaroy promised £2 as soon as built, and then another £3. North Narrabeen £10, and Newport £10. A canvass of Freshwater is to be made to help the club to raise a sum towards their boat. President Quirk pointed out that when the boats were constructed the surf clubs in the shire would have an attraction at their carnivals that no other club could possess. That was a race in the surf between half a dozen boats. 

Mr. Young said the Freshwater Club was crippled for want of funds, but he would give a donation, and Mr. F. Carter was sure that a sum of £10 could be raised in a month. Councillor King said Freshwater had the lar-gest club on any beach in the shire and the council could rely on a contribution of £10. It was eventually decided to order five boats 18ft long. The club nominated the undermentioned members to the council for appointment as beach inspectors :— North Narrabeen, Messrs. W. C. Stubbings and G. A. King; Deewhy, Messrs. R. Swinbourne and W. R. Dorman; Freshwater, Messrs. G. O. Young and E. P. Condry; Collaroy, Mr. A. Davidson. The president mentioned that the appointments would last till November 1, and that every club was to be informed it was necessary that one local man should be appointed. SURF BOATS. (1914, March 25). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114492387