March 30 - April 5, 2014: Issue 156

 5,000 Gear Up for Iconic Surf Life Saving competition - The Aussies 2014

 Coloured Photographs by A J Guesdon, 2014

 5,000 Gear Up for Iconic Surf Life Saving Competition - The Aussies 2014

The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships 2014, The Aussies, will kick off in Scarborough this Monday with seven action-packed days between March 31 and April 6, featuring 5,000 surf lifesaving competitors and the who’s who of surf sports.

Names like Shannon Eckstein, Ky Hurst, Kendrick Louis, Courtney Hancock, Liz Pluimers and Naomi Flood will come from every State and Territory in Australia with a small contingent from overseas and they will converge on the Western Australian capital for the 11th staging of the event in WA.

This year will celebrate the 99th year of Surf Sports in Australia – since the first “Championship” carnival at Bondi which saw the host club win the only two events contested – the Senior R and R Premiership and the Open surf race won by J. G. Brown, the only competitor not disqualified.

The Aussies, organised by Surf Life Saving Australia, is the largest event of its kind in the world - in the same magnitude as the Commonwealth Games.

Over the seven days competitors will chase prized Aussies medals on the beach and in the ocean with craft, swimming, rescue and lifesaving events that hone the skills and ability of our surf lifesavers to protect the community, and ensure they are rescue ready.

A snapshot of entry numbers and a look at each state’s finest is below:

Previous Australian Championships held in WA – 1951 (Scarborough); 1958  (Scarborough); 1965 (Scarborough); 1971 (City of Perth); 1979 (Trigg Island); 1987 (Scarborough); 1991 (Scarborough); 2007 (Scarborough); 2008 (Scarborough); 2009 (Scarborough); 2014 (Scarborough).

Entry Statistics:

Total number of competitors: 5,028

Total number of clubs: 190

Total number of Masters competitors: 1,293

Total number of Masters clubs: 137

Total number of Open Competitors: 3,735

Total number of Open Clubs: 156

Open Clubs Per State: NSW (62), QLD (27), WA (21), VIC (18), SA (12), TAS (4), NT (2), International (10)

Masters Clubs Per State: NSW (59), QLD (29), WA (18), VIC (16), SA (10), TAS (2), NT (1), International (2)

New South Wales

NSW will field the most number of clubs travelling to this year’s Aussies with 62 including 59 of those clubs that will also contest the Masters. A total of 1,377 open competitors and 424 Masters will make the trek across the Nullabor. The NSW clubs will be led by new State Champions, Newport, who last year started the Newport Surf Racing Academy. The Maroon and Golds will be led by champion ironman Kendrick Louis, along with Max Brooks, Jake Lynch, Luke Morrison and Mitchell Trim. Manly, with Olympian Naomi Flood and rising star Georgia Miller will be a force in the women’s events after 18-year-old Miller won 10 gold medals at the NSW State Championships.


Nine times Australian champion club Northcliffe will be gunning for SLSA history when they hit the sands of Scarborough, one of 27 Queensland clubs who will field 813 open competitors and 259 Masters at this year’s Championships. Northcliffe has won the Overall pointscore for nine years since 2004, with 2010 not contested and will be out for a record 10th title. Northcliffe were comfortable winners of the Queensland pointscore ahead of Mooloolaba and the emerging young Currumbin Vikings (Champions in 1977, 1998 and 1999). Northcliffe will be spearheaded by champion Ironman Shannon Eckstein going for his sixth Australian Ironman crown where he will try and emulate the great Trevor Hendy and Ironwoman Courtney Hancock chasing her third title. Throw in Olympic gold medallists Tate Smith andMurray Stewart in the ski area and it’s a formidable team. Kurrawa will have Ky Hurst chasing his fifth ironman title and his 10th open surf race while “Queen of the Sand” Melissa Howard will be out for a remarkable 10th Australian beach flags title.

Western Australia

The WA clubs will be represented by 1022 open competitors and 385 Masters from 21 clubs with State Champions City of Perth leading the charge alongside arch rivals Trigg Island and emerging club Sorrento. City Beach, on the back of their “water babies” and their “beach girls” were the talk of WA State Championships with Kirstie Hardstaff, Jade Mickle and Heidi Gan leading the way in the water and Gabrielle Murphy, Brittany Houghton and Brittany Brymer on the sand. City filled the top six places in the women’s surf race and first five in the open beach sprint. In the end it was City (1168) ahead of Trigg (1068) and Sorrento (757). The local sandcrabs will welcome the home beach advantage under “The Doctor’s” orders.

South Australia

The famous Grange club in SA, responsible for developing outstanding competitors like Australian board champion Gavin Hill, beach flags guru David Brenan and more recently Australian beach sprint champion Jordan Caldow have unearthed another star of the sand in Tjimarri Sanderson-Milera who won the open sprint and flags and helped the club take the open beach relay as Grange continued its decade long SA State Pointscore domination with 744 points ahead of West Beach (533) and Brighton (430). Grange will be one of 12 SA clubs with over 300 Open and Masters competitors. Hayley Openshaw again dominated on the beach for Brighton winning the open beach sprint and flags and spearheading the red caps to gold in the beach relay.


Powerhouse clubs Anglesea, Torquay, Lorne and Half-Moon Bay will headline the 18 strong Victorian contingent into the West with over 360 competitors. Anglesea, with their strong contingent of R and R teams, will again be a force to be reckoned with while Torquay will field a strong team in the water events with sisters Millie and Kimberley Holding dominant in craft events while it was good to see former Australian belt champion Cameron Dixon on the winners list in the Rescue Tube Rescue at the State Championships at Ocean Grove  and he will also line up in the open belt in the flat conditions of Scarborough. While it won’t be hard to keep tabs on the Lorne surf boat crews namely the Victorian Reserve Grade winners the Lorne Bowlers and the Open Women’s winners Lorne Order, who will be kept honest by their other crew the Lorne Rangers.


The Apple Isle will be represented by a small but select band of competitors from Tasmania’s champion club Devonport, Burnie, Ulverstone and Carlton Park with the Norton family spearheading the family tree with Popular Burnie High school teach Jeremy Norton lining up in the Masters and the Opens with sons State single ski champion Sam Norton and bronze medal winning brother Tom Norton. The brothers Norton combined to win the double ski from Devonport’s well known Wiseman brothers Jarrad and Adam who won’t be making the trek west. Also keep an eyes on the evergreen old Tassie salt in Don Marsh in the Masters and his girl power trio of Ali Britton, Kaitlin Petrie and Briana Huxley.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory will have two clubs in Perth, Darwin SLSC, which patrols Casuarina Beach and Mindil Beach (of Mindil Sunset markets fame), with 13 competitors led by Chad Blenkinship from Darwin in the men’s open surf race and Jody Hall from Mindil who will contest both Masters and Open surf races with Mindil fielding a strong team of age groupers in Mitchell Hardy and the Marcroftbrothers Luke and Noah with Tahni Gordon and Zoe Nibbs in the girls.


Among the 10 internationals is Brazilian Malibu Long Boarder Leandro Lanzoni from Salvamar Paulista GBMar who will contest the Masters Malibu event and if his YouTube footage is any indication then he may well become the first Brazilian to take an Aussies medal home. He will be joined by a strong group of Kiwis from Mt Maunganui, Omanu and Paekakariki with a lone ranger from Royal Canadian Lifesaving in Scott Southwood who is in for a busy week. He is one of 229 entries in the open surf race, one of 140 in the open 2km run and beach sprint where he will come against Japan’s Kasunari Noguchi from Oiso Lifesaving Club.

Visit the event website at

 Copyright © Surf Life Saving Australia Ltd



'You are a well-browned healthy-looking lot of fellows. You appear to have been enjoying yourselves. But what brings you to this unfrequented spot ? Why don't you bathe nearer home ?”

''For the simple reason we would be run in if we were caught in the act. The law prohibits bathing on the ocean beaches after 7o'clock.”

The conversation above related took place at Freshwater about 14 years ago, before that locality bore signs of human habitation, and when to enter the breakers in broad daylight was a punishable offence. Frank Bell, of Manly, who happened to be one of the persons addressed, informs me that he and a few friends had just been flagrantly flouting the law in this manner when they were accosted by a stranger. The explanation tendered as to why it was necessary to hide from the vigilance of the guardians of public morality at once aroused the indignation of their interlocutor. He immediately proceeded to denounce the short-sightedness of the restriction that prevented people indulging at any hour of the day in a recreation whose beneficial effects were so obvious. Then, as if an inspiration had suddenly possessed him, he pictured the good that would inevitably accrue, if the public, particularly that section represented by the perspiring occupants of the city, were educated up to an adequate appreciation of their glorious heritage, and an agitation were successful in causing the removal of the obstacles that barred the full enjoyment of the natural advantages.


Bell, together with a small coterie of village enthusiasts, had, for some time prior to the date referred to been in the habit of migrating at every opportunity to Freshwater, which was regarded as an out-of-the-way place in those days, so that they might pursue their lawless practices with little fear of detection. Shortly after the incident mentioned occurred, Bell recounts that an article appeared in a district publication, designated the 'North Sydney News,' from the pen of the proprietor, Mr. W. H. Gotcher, pointing out that our sandy ocean stretches constituted a priceless asset, and advocating their utilisation for the purpose of all-day surf bathing. In this way was revealed the identity of the individual who had disturbed the surfers at their favorite haunt. The suggestion was so far in advance of current ideas that the proposal was regarded as preposterous, but succeeding issues of the same paper, however, contained more glowing references to the subject. By degrees, converts were obtained, and the ground prepared for the final assault on the barriers of narrow conservatism that strenuously opposed the granting of the privilege. With the assistance of Mr. Frank Donovan and other men of rigorous speech and action, the ineffectiveness of the restrictive regulations was demonstrated by open defiance, Gotcher incurring the risk of imprisonment in the maintenance of what he claimed to be the just rights of the people. Manly being the scene of the historic happenings. As soon as the freedom of the surf was proclaimed, Gotcher's predictions were fulfilled to the letter, and the popularity of surf bathing spread with the rapidity of a prairie fire, villages subsequently springing up like mushrooms along the coast wherever facilities for its practise where obtainable. And yet the Manly L.S. Club is the only one that has, so far, paid Gotcher a tribute for the part he played, by electing him a vice-president. Such is gratitude.


Fatalities having commenced to happen with conspicuous frequency, soon after the general adoption of the new natatorial amusement, the necessity for affording protection to the inexperienced and the unwary was made apparent. To Bondi belong the honor of having initiated the next significant development. Lyster Ormsby, Warrant-officer Bond, and one or two more local surfers, who were prominently associated with the Royal Life-Saving Society, perceived the need for devising methods of rescue specially suited to rough water conditions and improvement in the manipulation of the life lines. Their requirements having been explained to a coach builder, the designing and manufacture of the first reel resulted, the model being identical with the one in use to-day. A little later the leading Manly and Bondi identities foregathered and laid, the foundation of the present Surf- Bathing Association. From a modest beginning it has grown into one of the largest and most efficient organisations in Australia. 


It now comprises 32 clubs, whose membership totals something like 1766 members. Its growth the last few years has been particularly remarkable, which I attribute in a large degree to the exceptionally capable man at the head of affairs. Not only has the president exercised a directing influence, but has kept himself closely in touch with every detail of management, which has secured for him the local co-operation of all his fellow office-bearers. They, in their turn, have inspired the various units to work harmoniously, with the result that the educating influence of the Association has extended until it has induced practically all our best speed swimmers, who previously took little or no interest in such work, to regularly take their places in the beach patrols that unselfishly devote their time and their skill to the welfare of the public. 

A brief review of the origin and rise of the governing body is made appropriate by the fact that it is celebrating an occasion at Bondi this afternoon that really marks a new era in its annals. At the beginning of this season the Association inaugurated a championship pennant rescue and resuscitation competition. The keen interest aroused by the qualifying rounds, the last month or two in both Northern and Southern country centres, as well as in the metropolitan area, has prompted the institution of State championships for other beach and surf competitions. In order to provide a suitable opportunity for deciding them, together with the final of the pennant, the Association resolved to establish yet another precedent by organising a function on a grand scale and directly controlling it. The offer of the Waverley Council to close the public accommodation and place it at the disposal of the Association free of charge secured for Bondi Beach the distinction of being the chosen venue. 

The programme to be submitted is a unique one as far as surf carnivals are concerned. It includes five contests of a championship character, namely, the aforesaid pennant, surf race, alarm reel race, 100yds beach race, and 400yds teams beach race. In addition there are two competitions set apart for novices, an alarm reel race, and surf race, both of which have attracted huge entries. A tug-of-war is another item, but from a spectacular point of view the parade and march-past should be the feature of the afternoon's display, as clubs aggregating 400 surfers, with equipment, will participate. Country clubs will be represented in full force, and the affair will be in the nature of a surfers rally of unprecedented dimensions.


In view of the importance of the happening, are invited the president of the Association (Mr.C. D. Paterson) to make a few observations in reference to it, in response to which he said :'This championship carnival, which was undertaken after very mature consideration, in view of the state of affairs in Europe, is looked upon as being something in which every club should take a hand, as the magnificent humanitarian work on which the Association and its affiliated clubs are engaged is so important, it is inadvisable, for one minute, to relax its efforts in the teaching and encouraging of life-saving. It is hoped by holding championship carnivals such as this not only to create greater rivalry amongst club members themselves, but to secure a greater interest from the public, who derive such immense benefit from their organisations. When it is taken into consideration that, in addition, the Association will donate half its takings to the Belgian Fund, it will be seen that the doctrine of unselfishness which the Association preaches is being carried out in its entirety. The attention of clubs is invited to the kindly remarks made in a recent court on the splendid work which is being voluntarily performed by the whole of the members of the life-saving clubs, and it is such commendation as this which repays and. encourages members for the amount of time which they give up in the work.'

A number of club teams intend going down to Cronulla at the start of the Easter holidays and remaining over for the local club carnival, which will take place on Easter Monday. The Kiama Club, which applied for the same day, has been informed that the date cannot be officially granted, as Cronulla is in the same district, and had already been allotted it. At the same time, it was notified that there was no objection to Kiama making a club fixture of it, and, further, should it be found that any affiliated clubs are available to attend, the Association will not only not offer the slightest objection to their taking a part, but will endeavour to send some representatives to assist in the disposal of the programme. In some respects the Freshwater Club's carnival, last Saturday, fully realised the expectations entertained concerning it, but, on the whole, was a disappointment. 

The March Past, for instance, was generally conceded to have been the finest yet witnessed on any of the beaches. The decision in favor of Cook’s Hill met with the approval of the majority of the spectators. The actual management of the programme left nothing to be desired, but the grouping of the events was such as to accentuate their tediousness in several cases and place them in a disadvantageous light, Had beach and surf contests been sandwiched in alternately, no doubt both the semi-final of the pennant and the Griffith Shield would have been made appear less protracted, and consequently have been better appreciated by the bulk of the onlookers. Freshwater Club members, during the course and subsequent to the function, entertained visitors in the openhearted manner for which they arc noted.

In official circles, especially, Bondi Surf Bathers scored a popular … In one way it is to be regretted that Manly, that has played such a prominent role in the surfing world for some years should not be eligible to take part in the final struggle for supremacy this afternoon. Saturday, however, had its compensations for Manly, as the club's repeated triumph in the; Griffith:; Shield, to say nothing of its successes –in both alarm reel races, definitely determined the destination of the handsome trophy involved.

The way the crews worked the lifeboats in the race for these craft showed that they are adapting themselves well to their use, and are likely to prove a valuable adjunct to the lifesaving facilities. The display of breaker, riding on the 'Duke' boards given by Tommy Walker and Co. considerably surprised the surfers, particularly the visitors. Walker succeeded in getting upright a number of' times, and on one occasion came in a good way standing on his head. The exhibition was thought so much of that the exponents have been requested to repeat the performance at Bondi this afternoon. The house flag of the Balmoral Beach Club was 'half-masted' on Sunday last -on- account of the death of Alderman W. J. Pigott of Mosman, who took a very active-part in the formation of the Beach Club, and right up to the time of his demise was one of its best supporters.

BIGGEST SURF CARNIVAL IN HISTORY OF THE SPORT. (1915, March 20). Saturday Referee and the Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1912 - 1916), p. 1. Retrieved from


The Surf-bathing Association of N.S.W. celebrated the first Championship Carnival at Bondi Beach on Saturday afternoon. This organisation has made rapid strides the past few years. It now comprises 32 clubs, with an affiliated membership of something like 3700. Its objects are essentially humanitarian in character, its attention being mainly devoted to encouraging surfers to specialise in the art of ocean rescue and utilise the skill acquired in affording protection to the inexperienced. In this it has been remarkably successful. All the principal beaches are now regularly patrolled by trained volunteer life-savers, who have already a wonderful record of saves to their credit. They have undoubtedly been of invaluable assistance in minimising the occurrence of fatalities, which happened with such frequency in the past, as to seriously threaten the reputation of the otherwise beneficial pastime. An achievement' upon which it can certainly pride itself is having induced practically all the expert speed swimmers, who previously took little or. no interest in such work, to perform their share of this commendable duty. The functions conducted under the auspices of the controlling body are designed primarily with a view to affording those taking part useful experience, also educating the general public to an appreciation of the standard of efficiency attained. The sporting aspect is avowedly of secondary importance, and regarded merely as a popularising medium and means to an end. At the commencement of this season the Association inaugurated a Rescue and Resuscitation Pennant Championship. Previously such events were confined to competitions promoted by individual clubs. Considerable interest was aroused by the preliminary qualifying rounds in both country centres (Northern and Southern), as well as in the metropolitan area. The Waverley Council, being anxious that Bondi should be the venue of a big surf display, offered to close and place the public accommodation at the disposal of the Association. This invitation was a marked contrast to the unsympathetic attitude towards ordinary club carnivals adopted by the constitutional authorities at other metropolitan resorts. Subsequently it was decided to take advantage of the opportunity. It was recognised such an affair as suggested would at least provide an appropriate occasion upon which to contest the final of the Pennant. In order to ensure the balance of the programme being thoroughly in keeping with the principal fixture, the Association resolved, to extend the championship list so as to include a surf race and alarm reel race, and, further, as spectacular attractions, to create two beach supremacies, namely, :a 100:yds run and 400yds. teams race. The choice of dates proved to be most unfortunate. Bleak, boisterous weather prevailed, the strong south-easterly wind raising a big sea and rendering the water conditions entirely; unsuitable. Notwithstanding that the buoys were swept shorewards for half their original distance, the officials determined to proceed and do the best they could under the circumstances. A big crowd assembled in the vicinity; but only about 2000 passed through the gates. A hill in the immediate background commands a good view, and the remainder of the people took up positions there, rather than pay the modest 6d demanded for unreserved seats and have the satisfaction of knowing they were contributing to the Belgian Fund at the same time, as they were advised, half the net proceeds were to be handed over to that collection. However, it is estimated the takings will enable a profit of about £20 to be shared. The opening event, the March Past, was an impressive and picturesque sight. Upwards of 400 surfers with life-saving equipment and representing 15 city and country; clubs participated. North Steyne and Bondi were adjudged to have made the best display. So that consistency would be a 'big factor in' the- gaining of the Pennant, the Association resolved' that the winners should be declared on aggregate of points gained in semi-final and final. .The teams which secured the right to compete in the final were Bondi, Cook's Hill, and Coogee. They were placed in that order. in .the semi-final, and they emerged, from Saturday's competition with no alteration in their relative positions. As a result the honor of capturing the first Pennant is Bondi's. The team comprised W. Douglas, T. Walker, ' R-C. Douglas, R;: Clarke, H. Fletcher, V. Coppleson, and G. Brown. The club, it might be mentioned, was successful in the Roth Challenge Shield, the Royal Life-saving Society's most important competition, this season, as in a number of prior years. The judges stipulated that the competitors in the surf race should take; a. certain course, which the rough and treacherous nature of the breakers made it very difficult to observe. Four arrived back ahead of G. Brown (Bondi), but he was the only one strictly to carry out the conditions, and was consequently awarded first prize. Cronulla team, with E. Rowbotham in the belt, annexed the Alarm Reel Race. This involved the defeat of Albert Barry, Manly's bellman, but there was a bigger element of luck than usual. Rowbotham, however, put up a fine swim.R. Cunningham (Clovelly) won the 100yds Beach Race, and North Steyne (G. Williams, H. Nicholls, G. Morgan and H. G. Taubman) the 400yds Teams' event. In the Tug-of-War, Dee Why out-pulled their opponents. SWIMMING. (1915, March 24). Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), p. 13. Retrieved from


New South Wales won 15 of the 16 titles at the Australian surf championships at Newport yesterday. It also won the five non-championships events held in conjunction. The only event won by an interstate lifesaver was the senior belt race. Western Australian Don Morrison had a convincing win in this swim to defend his title. Morrison has now won four senior belt championships and was second twice in six attempts.

Rugby Union international Dick Tooth, who finished third, did not know until Tuesday that he was to swim in the belt race. Tooth replaced State champion John Bloomfield, who withdrew because of a back injury. Tooth was told of his inclusion in the race last Tuesday night when he returned from his holidays at Inverell.

Freshwater scored a fine double in winning the blue ribbon events - the senior rescue and resuscitation and the march past. This is the second successive year Freshwater has won the coveted R. and R. championship.

Above: Western Australian senior belt team chair the winner of the senior belt championship, D. Morrison

Max Riddington (Manly) and Bryan Mortensen (Clovelly) recorded brilliant wins to retain their senior and junior surf championships respectively. Riddington's win yesterday was his eighth in nine races this season. Last month he won the Metropolitan championship at Bondi and the State title at Caves Beach. Mortensen, who recorded his fifth open win this summer, also won the metropolitan and State double. Both won their races comfort-ably yesterday.

Right: M. RIDDINGTON, of Manly, shown winning the senior surf title at the Australian championships at Newport yesterday. 

The draw of positions gave North Wollongong an easy win in the senior surf team championship. North Wollongong drew the No. 7 alley and had the benefit of a 50 yards long sandbank at the start.

The N.S.W. performance was the best ever recorded by any State. Last year it also put up a remarkable record to win 14 of the 16 titles. Yesterday five of the 15 titles won by N.S.W. clubs were retained by the title holders. N.S.W. champion North Bondi, however, was drawn opposite deep water and North Wollongong cleared away to a good start and went on to win. North Wollongong champion Tassie Barnett was first home from team-mates Ron Vaughan and Neil Stinger. Junior Ron Morris, the fourth member of the team, finished twelfth. Nevertheless, titleholder North Bondi won the junior surf team race. North Bondi junior Ralph Pullinger was granted special leave from his national service training on the H.M.A.S. Australia to compete. The ship did not reach Sydney until Friday.


The unluckiest lifesaver in the carnival was last year's Australian surfboard champion, Serge Denman (Bronte). Denman had a clear lead in the third heat of the board race when, with 50 yards to go,. He lost grip of his board and was eliminated. State champion Ross Hazelton won the title.  At 17, he is the youngest board rider ever to be national champion.


Titleholder South Curl Curl and State champion Cronulla were surprisingly eliminated in the semi-finals of the senior boat race. The championship was won by Wollongong from Bronte and Manly. Queensland surfer Steve Wilkes put up one of the best performances of the day to finish second to Don Morrison in the senior belt and later third to Riddington in the senior surf. 

Swansea-Belmont retained their junior boat title and Australian beach sprint champion Johnny Bliss successfully defended his title. N.S.W. champions Ron Jones and Charlie Whyte beat last season's winner Les Lazarus and Ron Connolly in the double ski  title. Newcastle representative Bill McIntosh narrowly beat champion Trevor Gallard (Avoca) in the singles ski race. Brian Brown (Coogee) won a double yesterday in taking the junoir belt championship and the junior non-championship event. 

Above: Ski riders mount a wave in the fourth heat of the single surf ski event at the Australian championships at Newport yesterday.

SYDNEY SURFERS WIN MAIN TITLES AT CHAMPIONSHIPS. (1953, March 15). The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 6 Section: Sports Section. Retrieved from

A British Pathe Film of the 1953 Aussies at Newport Beach may be viewed HERE

Fresh Records Mark Best Season In Surfing

The Australian surf championships at Newport last week-end brought to a close the most successful season in the 38-year history of surf carnivals. The championships were attended by a record number of lifesavers from every State in Australia. More than 2,800 men from 73Australian clubs took part in the 19 championship events. The season saw a record number of 6,500 lifesavers participating in carnivals all over Australia. The number was an increase of almost 1,000 on the previous year's total. Crowds this season have also been the biggest ever. Average attendance for ordinary weekend club fixtures was 5,000. The State championships at the isolated Caves Beach near Newcastle drew a crowd of 15,000-a record for a country fixture. 

The surf lifesaving movement is dependent on these carnivals for many reasons. Australian surf superintendent Mr. Don Lucas describes surf carnivals as the backbone of the S.L.S.A. He says: "Surf carnivals are a medium of creating and keeping up the interest of the surfers. They provide a break from the monotonous duties of beach patrols. "Regular competition keeps the lifesavers fit and prepared to carry out rescue work when called upon. The regular drill of rescue and resuscitation events and march pasts, and competition in boat, surf, board, and ski races as well as beach novelty events all help tremendously in keeping our lifesavers efficient and keen. Just as important is the surf carnival's part in supplying clubs with finance. The money each club makes at a carnival, an average of about £100, buys valuable equipment such as boats, oars, and reels. "A complete boat costs any-thing up to £500, and reels are £40 each."

N.S.W. publicity officer Mr. Eddie Sier reports that funds raised at carnivals this year will probably be a record. "We are not yet in a position to total the receipts, but it will obviously be the highest ever," he said. "The generous response of the public to the 'Herald' appeal last year is reflected in the keen interest shown this year. For the first time we have been able to supply all clubs, particularly the small ones, with the equipment they need. The result is evident in the enthusiasm shown in carnivals. Clubs which had never competed before entered in races this season."

Movement Began In 1907

Surf carnivals began soon after the first lifesaving body started in Australia in 1907. Then known as the Surf Bathers' Association of N.S.W. it consisted of a group of young men from five Sydney clubs Bondi, Coogee, Manly, North Steyne, and Cronulla. Today there are 200 clubs throughout the Commonwealth. The five clubs held surf races and beach events between themselves. In 1910 a system of examination in surf lifesaving drill was instituted. The development of rescue and resuscitation work soon followed. The carnivals grew both in the number of competitors and events and in 1914 the first N.S.W. surf championships were held at Bondi.

In 1913 the then N.S.W. Minister for Local Government, Mr. Arthur Griffith, authorised the building of surf clubhouses. The first club, built at Deewhy, cost £140. The North Cronulla clubhouse built after the last war cost £16,000. The preparation required for competition takes many days of practice. The precision of a march-past team and the co-ordination and detail of rescue and resuscitation drill are attained only by constant training. No team spends less than two nights a week practising. Club members travel hundreds of miles to compete in the weekly carnivals.

Each week-end Newcastle, Terrigal, The Entrance, Wollongong, and other North and South -Coast clubs leave home in the early hours of the morning and invade Sydney in their trucks loaded with boats, boards, and skis. Two Terrigal club members travel 70 miles each week-end to do their patrol duties on the beach. Two Queensland crews who attended the Newport titles travelled 600 miles with their boats, sleeping on the roadside each night of the journey. 

Clubhouse As Dormitory

Some teams from other States, unable to afford accommodation, but anxious to compete, camped at Sydney clubhouses the week before the titles. The Sydney clubs willingly provided stretchers and blankets for the visitors. Queensland, one of the largest contingents, turned North Steyne clubhouse into one large dormitory. The Western Australian squad slept in bunks at the Palm Beach clubhouse.

A lifesaver is not reimbursed for his many expenses incurred by competing at carnivals. Fares and accommodation are paid from his own pocket.

Preparing a beach for a carnival also requires time and energy from club members. Early in the morning on the beach where a carnival is to be held life savers may be seen putting up the ' hessian enclosure, erecting thousands of chairs for the public, clearing the beach and rigging the amplifying system. Typical of the enthusiasm of the lifesaver was the organisation of the State championships at lonely Caves Beach, 20 miles south of Newcastle, last month.

Many thought the N.S.W.S.L.S.A. was unwise in allotting the important championships to an isolated little-known beach which has one of the smallest club memberships in the State. But weeks of preparation and hard work by the enthusiastic club members resulted in a record crowd of 15,000 attending the carnival.

Beach Work In Preparation

Club members converted the beach into a huge picnic area. They built a 500-yard long road leading from the highway to the beach. To provide showers for the 2,000 competitors they dammed a nearby creek and were able to supply a constant flow of water throughout the day. A car park was cleared, and tents for changing were erected. Stalls were set up to sell food and drinks. The number of competitors in the carnivals has been increasing so much that events are often finishing behind schedule. Officials are considering starting earlier than the usual 2 p.m. or holding all heats in the morning.

Sydney carnival referee Mr. Bill Foerster said at a recent club carnival: "Surf carnivals are getting out of hand. We are getting too many entries and not enough time to run the events in. "There have never been so many entries in surf and beach events. If it continues, we will either have to hold all heats in the mornings or divide the carnivals into two zones."

Much credit for the success of surf carnivals must go to the officials responsible for the organisation. These men are highly trained in lifesaving methods, are tested -regularly, and must qualify to S.L.S. examinations. They receive  no pay for their work. Each week the same base of officials travels many miles to conduct carnivals. J.B.

Typical of the hazards and thrills of surfing is this incident at a Maroubra Carnival. A member of the boat's crew has his foot caught under the boat during the beaching, and colleague rushes to his aid. Fresh Records Mark Best Season In Surfing. (1953, March 22).The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953), p. 10 Section: Sports Section. Retrieved from



The president (Mr. C. D. Patterson) and officers of the Surf-bathing Association desire to express, through our columns, their appreciation of the work of club members during the past year, and hope that they will have a highly successful New Year, and personally wish them a Happy and Prosperous one.

Full advantage was taken of the beaches during the holidays, and the improved accommodation, particularly at Coogee, was much appreciated by the public, and as far as the writer’s knowledge extends, no complaints were made. The lookout kept by the various clubs, on their particular beaches, was also the means of the festive period passing off without any accidents. In several instances bathers were carried out, but in every case speedily rescued by the members of the life-saving clubs. At Cronulla, members of the local life-saving club, who happened to be in the vicinity at the time of an alarm, rushed to render assistance without divesting themselves of their clothing. Their promptitude and unselfishness was heartily, commended by visitors' who witnessed the incident. 

'What's the boat for,' queried the Duke, in a surprised tone, when he espied the Manly I..S. Club's surf boat putting into Freshwater on' Thursday last. 'We got them to bring it round to pull your board out for you.' replied Don McIntyre, beaming with pride and delight at the thought that his favorite haunt was to be the scene of the famous Kahanamoku's first exhibition in Australia. The Hawaiian greeted this information with a roar of laughter. The reason for his irrepressible mirth was not apparent at that particular moment to the officials surrounding him. You see, they were aware, and duly impressed, with the fact that the plank in question weighed something like1001b. Their action, of course, in arranging to have the boat in attendance was dictated by overlooked that the Honolulu marvel is not a normal being, as far as his capabilities in the water arc concerned. They were completely. enlightened as to this when they saw him take possession of what they fondly imagined would be an encumbrance in the breakers and make off with it seawards at such a rapid rate as to leave one of our crack swimmers far in the rear. Then they realised where the joke came appreciated it quite as much as the Duke himself. Members of the Freshwater Club were fully conscious of the honor conferred on their beach by its having been selected as the rendezvous for the distinguished visitor's initial display, and the committee men saw to it that ample refreshments were provided Press folk and officials privileged to view the exhibition.

The supplement to the Surf-Bathing Association's handbook is now ready, and will be in the hands of all clubs this week. Conditions laid down will govern all future examinations until further notice. The examiner-in-chief, Mr. Roy Doyle, visited Collaroy Beach last Sunday and instructed a squad of local club members, who intend presenting themselves for examination the second or third week this month. They will probably be the first candidates to be tested under the new rules. The Rev. Mr. Purnell, of Gerringong, has requested the Association to undertake the selection and forward him a complete life-saving outfit, that is to say, reel, line, and belt, as a first step towards the formation of a local club. The hon. secretary is endeavoring to let him have them before the New Year holiday. 

Bondi Surf-Bathers' Club held a concert at the club-house on Christmas Eve. About 70 in number and friends were present. An excellent musical programme was submitted, and altogether the function passed off most happily, lion, secretary W. S. Thomas supervised arrangements in his usual courteous manner, nn.-l was no small factor in the evening's success. Mr. R. T. Cummins, one of the club's vice-presidents, presided, and Messrs. Midclton,King, Wright. Watson, and Guy Martin rendered contributions. Several toasts were proposed, the most significant, perhaps, being one in which the well-being of members cone tothe front was concerned. The chairman, in this connection, drew attention to the fact that out of slightly over 80 act:ive club members, no fewer than 18 had offtred their services to their country, and a3 several of these had been entrusted with commissions, the club had every reason to be proud of the part it was taking in the present crisis. On the 17th inst. a club rescue and resuscitation competition will be decided. Six teams are now training hard for the event. The conditions are to be similar to those governing the S.B.A. award. The squads appear to be very evenly matched, and it is anticipated the judges will find considerable difficulty in separating them when the time comes for them to give their decision. Bondi surf-bathers have entered two teams for the Pennant Championship. Definite selections have not yet been made, but Captain Craven has the likely representative), in an advanced stage of preparation. He states it will not be for the want of work if the first Pennant Flag does not eventually fly over the local club-house. It was noticed at the carnival held recently at North Steyne, at which a number of teams competed for the first lime, colors worn in several instances were calculated to cause confusion to officials as well as spectators, owing to their close resemblance to those of old established clubs. It is most desirable efforts should be made to avoid this risk as much as possible. It is the intention of the Association, I understand, to revise the colors of the various affiliated clubs, and in cases where they consider there is any likelihood ol mistakes arising, to request the necessary alterations to be made as will obviate the danger. 

Cap colors will also be allotted in order to secure distinctiveness in the water. Most of the clubs already have these, but there are a few newly-formed bodies whose requirements in this respect have yet to be attended to. The Lyttelton (N.Z.) branch of the Royal Life-Saving Society has written to the Coogee Surf Club, advising that a Mr. J. A. Duffy, instructor of the Maranui Surf Club, was about to leave for Sydney, and is anxious to submit himself for the S.B.A. medallion. Coogee officials were requested to arrange so that he be given an opportunity of gratifying his wish. This can be taken as an indication that knowledge of the good work being done by the State organisation is spreading, and that its matter where he may happen to be situated. Coogee Club's active membership at the moment is 102. Life-saving instruction classes arc being held twice weekly, and officials report that members generally arc attending to their patrol duties in a praiseworthy manner. Two examinations arc to be conducted during the season for S.B.A. and R.L. Society credentials. A team from the club was invited to visit Port


Macquarie shortly to give a demonstration in connection with the inauguration of a new local club, and the committee has given the suggestion favorable consideration. It is expected that the club will be strongly represented on the occasion, as several prominent members have intimated their readiness to make the trip. Surf matters have at last been satisfactorily concluded at Wollongong. At the instance of the Mayor, a meeting was called of the late members of both clubs, and although there was a good attendance of the North Wollongong members, representatives of the other club were conspicuous by their absence. It was unanimously decided to form a club on purely lifesaving liner,, and at the suggestion of the Mayor, who has worked earnestly and persistently in the direction of bringing about a settlement ever since negotiations with that object in view started, it was resolved to designate the new organisation the North Wollongong Surf Bathing and Life-Saving Club. Mr. R. Wotton was appointed hon. secretary. The new club entered two teams for the pennant championship, and will probably contest the first round on Anniversary Day. The writer wishes the North Wollongong a. and L.S, Club every success, and joins the president and officials of the controlling body in congratulating the Council on what has been accomplished.

 THE SURF AND SURFERS. (1915, January 2). Saturday Referee and the Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1912 - 1916), p. 3. Retrieved from

Cecil Patrick Healy (28 November 1881 in Darlinghurst, New South Wales – 29 August 1918 in Somme, France) was an Australian freestyle swimmer of the 1900s and 1910s, who won silver in the 100m freestyle at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. He also won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay. He was killed in the First World War during the Battle of Somme in an attack on a German trench. Healy was the second swimmer behind Frederick Lane to represent Australia in Swimming and has been allocated the number "2" by Swimming Australia on a list of all Australians who have represented Australia at an Open International Level.

The son of a barrister, Healy was born in Darlinghurst, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, but moved with his family to the rural town of Bowral where he received his primary schooling. He moved to Sydney in 1896, joining the East Sydney Swimming Club, of which Frederick Lane was also a member. Healy was also a member of the North Steyne Surf Lifesaving Club.

In September 1915, Healy decided to enlist in the Australian Defence Force, and served as a quartermaster sergeant in Egypt and France. After attending officer training in Cambridge, he became a second lieutenant in June 1918 in the 19th Sportsman's Battalion. He was killed in action on the Somme battlefront. Healy remains the only Australian Olympic Gold medallist to die on the battlefield. He was buried at Assevillers New British Cemetery (France).

Picture: Healy, seated at left, with Manly Swimming Club teammates - Manly swimming club pic circa 1910

In the Stockholm Olympics, 1912, Healy entered the 100m event with fellow Australian Bill Longworth and American Duke Kahanamoku. All three qualified for the semi-final, with Kahanamoku clearly the fastest. Healy and Longworth then qualified from the first semifinal, but the three Americans, who were scheduled to qualify in the second semi-final did not, due an error by their team management. However, Healy intervened, saying if he was to win it would be against the best in the world. He assisted in an appeal to allow the Americans to swim another special race in order to qualify for the final. Despite protestation from other delegations, the Americans were allowed a separate race, with Kahanamoku qualifying for the final. In the final, Kahanamoku won easily, by 1.2s, over a bodylength, with Healy in second place. The two became lifelong friends and Kahanamoku lifted Healy's hand higher than his own in the victory salute on the dais. Healy invited the Duke to Australia and board riding was introduced to Australia. References: Wikipedia & Bombora - The Story of Australian Surfing (ABC Television)

Photograph. Courtesy State Library of New South Wales Cecil Healy. (2013, October 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

CECIL HEALY KILLED. LONDON, Sept. 3. Lieut. Cecil Henry, the well-known swimmer, has been killed in action. He was shot through the head on August 29 while actually in the water crossing the Somme. A private in the Australian Medical Corps Bays  Lieut. .Healy was fighting before Peronne when a piece of shell struck him in the head, killing him almost instantly. Cecil Healy was one of the best-known amateur swimmers In Australia He represented Australia at two Olympiads-first at Athens and later at Stockholm As far back as 1895 he won a 60yds handicap at the Natatorium, after which he Joined the East Sydney Club, and was prominent as one of Its leading performers In 1904 Healy won the 100yds championship of New South Wales, and a year later he won the 100. da champion-ship of Australia, equalling what was at the time a record-viz After the Athens Olympiad Healy won the 220yds championship ot England He was also successful in Paris, Hamburg, and other Continental cities It was in 1912 that Healy went to Stockholm, and he finished second in the 100-metree being beaten by Duke Kohanamoku He afterwards made a European tour, winning the 410yds event at Paris, 880yds event Spa and 440yds at Brussels. The deceased officer was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s silver medal for life-saving at Manly. He was the third son of the late Mr P J Healy barrister at-law and, was born In Sydney in the early Eighties. CECIL HEALY KILLED. (1918, September 10).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from


The resignation of Mr. C. D. Paterson is announced, and will take effect from the end of the current month, from which date he has been granted extended leave of absence on account of over 20 years in the State service. Mr Paterson joined the Railway Department in September, 1892, and after serving 13 years there, was transferred to the Intelligence Department, on the establishment of that office as a Tourist Officer, which position he created in the railway service some months before. .He has continued in that position for over seven years, and much of the success of the Tourist Bureau is undoubtedly due to the enthusiasm which he put into the work, and the extensive experience he was able to bring to bear in all matters connected with the travelling public. Notwithstanding the calls upon his time in connection with the organisation and maintenance on progressive lines as such an office as the Tourist Bureau, Mr. Paterson has taken an active interest in municipal affairs, and general public movements. As an alderman of Manly, he has devoted considerable attention to the beautifying of that popular resort, and to the extension of public facilities. The establishment of the Manly Watson's Bay ferry Service and motor service between Narrabeen and Newport were owing greatly to the energy which he put into the movements, and he is organiser and originator of the Manly Venetian Carnival, to eventuate early next year. As a member of the Surf Bathing Commission, who recently reported to the Government, he did good work, and a grant of £7000 has been made by the Minister for Works towards the construction of new surf dressing pavilions at Manly. Mr Paterson is president of the Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales, and the North Steyne Life-Saving Club, as well as being connected with many other associations, committees and clubs.MR. C. D. PATERSON,. (1912, November 24). Sunday Times(Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 24. Retrieved from

Aussies Report 2014 Copyright © Surf Life Saving Australia Ltd; Further compiled by A J Guesdon, 2014. Scarborough 1951 poster courtesy Buster Brown.