Ocean Events

Surf Race & Surf Teams - from a standing start on the beach, competitors run, wade and swim 400 meters to sea to round as set of buoys and then return to the beach. The event concludes with a run to the finishing line. In a Surf Teams event, clubs enter multiple competitors in the one race, and the final winning team is determined by the cumulative points of team members' final placings. 

Board Race & Board Relay - from the beach (standing start) each competitor enters the water holding onto their racing 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 holding their board. The relay event is the same format, contested in teams of 3.

Ski Race, Double Ski Race & Ski Relay - 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. Ski events can be single or double (two people in the same ski). The relay event is the same format, contested in teams of 3.

Board Rescue - this two-person event comprises of a swimmer and a racing board paddler. The race commences with the swimmer who swims to their allocated buoy, places one hand over the buoy and then signals back to the beach for their board paddler to come out and collect them. Once the paddler reaches the swimmer, the swimmer mounts the board and the two paddle the board back to beach and cross the finish line.

Wade & Wade Relay (Junior only event) - competitors run out to an allocated turning mark at knee depth water and then either wade along the water to another marker, before returning to the beach to run to the finish line. The relay event is in the same format, with teams of 4. 

Beach Events

Sprint - competitors race on a straight sand course (70 meters for Juniors, 90 meters for all other ages) to the finishing line.

Relay - teams of 4 competitors race on a straight sand course (70 meters for Juniors, 90 meters for all other ages) with a baton passing it to their next team mate, who is waiting at the opposite end. The final runner of a team over the finish line wins.

Beach Run - competitors race on a sand course for 1km or 2km races (depending on age)

Beach Flags - competitors start lying on their stomach facing away from a baton/s buried in the sand 15 - 20 metres away. There are always fewer 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. 

Multi Discipline Events

Iron Man & Iron Woman - the most prestigious event when it comes to surf sport events. The race is conducted over a course consisting of three legs – swim, surf ski and board –  concluding with a beach sprint to the finish line. The order of the legs may vary and is decided by a drawn by ballot 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 a draw by ballot prior to the event.

Cameron Relay (Taplin relay for juniors) - Teams of four competitors comprising of a board paddler, swimmer and two runners compete in this relay. The event order is water/run/water/run, and the order of water legs is drawn by ballot prior to the event. 

Lifesaver Relay - conducted over a course consisting of a surf boat,  surf ski, board, a swim and a beach sprint, with nine team members. The surf boat leg is always first, and the sprint leg always concludes the race. The order of the other legs is drawn by ballot.

Surf Boats

A boat crew consists of five competitors, four rowers and a sweep who controls the boat by use of a sweep oar and commands to the rowers.

Boat crews start at the water's edge holding their boats ready. On the starting signal, crews row to their assigned turning buoy approximately 400 metres off shore and return to the beach. The winner is the first crew to pass their boat between the finish flags on the beach.

Additional Events

IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) - IRB competition aims to improve the skills and technique of IRB drivers and crew as well as allow crews to demonstrate their techniques and abilities to perform rescues. There are five events in IRB competition.

Champion Lifesaver - This event provides an individual the competitive opportunity to demonstrate the physical and mental skills required to be a surf lifesaver, including a surf lifesaving question paper, resuscitation, surf race, board race, beach sprint and a rescue tube race.

Rescue and Resuscitation (R&R) - a competition based on the simulated rescue and resuscitation of a patient from the surf using traditional techniques and equipment.  It combines swimming, resuscitation skills, marching and drill with teams judged against set criteria.

Rescue Tube Race - the rescue tube race is contested on the same course as the belt race. Competitors 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.

Pool Rescue events - lifesaving skills based events conducted in a pool. Events include: manikin tow, obstacle swim, line throw & rescue medley. 


SLSA Sport Manual