General Surf Sports Carnival

These are the most common type of carnival hosted throughout Surf Life Saving. Surf Sports Carnivals display a range of events and disciplines displaying skills that can be transferred to Life Saving Skills on patrol. Events commonly on display include:

  • Surf Swim – an individual race, where competitors swim around a string of buoys
  • Tube Race – an individual race straight out to an assigned can with a rescue tube in tow
  • Board Race an individual race, where competitors paddle a board around a set course
  • Surf Ski – an individual race, where competitor paddle a Surf Ski around a set course
  • Ironperson – an individual race, where competitors complete a course including the above disciplines into one race
  • Beach Flags – an individual elimination style event where competitors vie for a ‘flag’ in a short sprint
  • Beach Sprint – an individual race, where competitors race over a set distance
  • Surf Teams – similar to Surf Swim except as a team, where the overall position of the team is determined by first team to cross the line
  • Board Relay – a relay event where teams complete the board course
  • Taplin/Cameron Relay – a relay event where individual legs of the Ironperson are completed by each member of the team
  • Ski Relay – a relay event in which the Surf Ski course is undertaken
  • Surf Boats – a team event in which crews of Surf Boats complete a set course in a race to the finish
  • Beach Relay – a relay event involving Beach Sprint
  • Board Rescue – a two person event where a board rescue is simulated in a race type environment

Surf Rescue Competition

The Surf Rescue Competition gives members (both participants and trainers) the opportunity to advance their lifesaving skills in any, or all of THREE components:

  1. The Champion Lifesaver event (Under 12 to Masters): An individual discipline, where members train and participate in a mixture of Theory, Resuscitation & Patient Assessment as well as competing on the beach and in the water.
  2. The Patrol Team Competition (U15 to Open): Similar to Champion Lifesaver, but in a team situation, developing skills in Emergency Response, Teamwork and Leadership. Teams are placed into an unknown “Beach Patrol Scenario” where they have to respond to various incidents and emergencies and are judged accordingly.
  3. The First Aid Competition (U15 to Open): Teams of two compete in a multitude of First Aid scenarios. (An event that is also very entertaining for spectators as special effects, make up and props are often used for authenticity).

What are the benefits of being involved?

  •  Members will develop skills to an advanced level. Skills that will be useful not only within the Surf Lifesaving movement, but also within life generally.
  • Our Beach Patrols will be manned by people, well trained and qualified to respond to incidents as required.
  • The three areas of this concept (as listed above) can be as much fun and as much of a challenge as the participants wish it to be.
  • There are no special competitive requirements.
  • Those wishing to pursue the competitive challenge may aim for Branch, State and National competitions.
  • Meet and socialise with new friends.
  • People who pursue the Surf Rescue disciplines will become outstanding surf lifesavers.


These carnivals are short events usually based around the Beach Events, but can also include modified races such as distance beach runs.


A high-octane event, inflatable rescue boat (IRB) racing has a large following in Queensland as competitors from clubs around the state fight it out for surf rescue supremacy.

Aside from the spills and thrills of the competition the event is a real reinforcement of lifesaving skills. The races are all about simulating rescue situations and testing the abilities of drivers and crewpeople as they’re transferred to a competitive setting.


Competitors test their rescue skills with events such as manikin tows, obstacle swims and tube swims carrying patients. The event has recently expanded to include under-11, under-12 and under-13 athletes, and it is hoped the event will encourage youngsters into the sport and maintain their involvement in lifesaving, whether in the pool or in the surf.

Pool rescue competition has been beneficial for regional clubs in particular, giving them the potential to attract pool swimmers and other members who might otherwise not have competed in surf sports because they were uncomfortable in the ocean. Further, it is now deemed virtually essential for athletes to have pool rescue skills among their credentials for consideration to be selected for Queensland and Australian teams, enhancing the importance of this competition in rounding out a competitor’s skill set.