Origin of Surf Lifesaving:

Surf lifesaving emerged in Australia in the first decade of the 20th century following several drownings on Sydney’s beaches and out of this volunteer men were trained in lifesaving methods and patrolled the beaches as lifesavers. The trend quickly expanded to New Zealand and in 1910 the first clubs emerged at Lyall Bay and New Brighton. A competitive side to the training activities later emerged.

Surf lifesaving then migrated around the world leading to the establishment of the Federation Internationale de Sauvetage Aquatique (FIS) and then later the formation of World Life Saving (WLS).

The FIS and WLS merged in 1993 to form the current world governing body for the sport, the International Lifesaving Federation. The sport’s marquee event is the biennial World Championships.

How it Works:

Competitors compete in a range of ocean and beach-based events some of which are open to individual and teams. These events are largely based around rescue capability and are specific to aiding and saving people’s lives. Among the principle ocean based activities are surf swim racing, surf-ski and board racing as well as a run, swim, run event. An oceanman/ocean women event ‘a decathlon-style competition’ combining several of these disciplines is also one of the competition events. The pure on-beach activities are a beach sprint, beach flags and 1km and 2km endurance runs. Five person boat and four personcanoe events also take place. Canoe events are unique to New Zealand. Note, World Championships also run a variety of swimming pool-based events, but these will not take place at World Masters Games 2017.

Format at World Masters Games:

Men and women compete in age divisions which begin at 30-34 and then go up in five-year increments through to 65+ for all individual events; surf race, run swim run, surf ski race, board race, beach flags and beach sprint events. A 2km race will be held from the 30-34 age group up to and including55-59 with a 1km race for the 60-64 and 65+categories. Oceanman/oceanwoman competitions will take place in every age bracket up to 60+years.

Of the five team events; Surf Teams Race 3 people, Surf Ski Relay (3), Board relay (3), Oceanman/Oceanwoman (3) and Beach Relay (4), the age total divisions will be 90+ 110+ 130+ and 150+ respectively.

In the boats and canoe events the age divisions are 120+, 140+, 160+, 180+, 200+, 220+,240+.

Expected Number of Participants: 500

Venue: Takapuna Beach

Kiwi Hero:

Cory Hutchings

Born and raised in Gisborne, Cory took up the sport of surf lifesaving aged five and went on to enjoy a stellar career in the sport as an Ironman competitor. An 11-time New Zealand champion his career highlights came with his three successive World Surf Ironman titles in 1998, 2000 and 2002 before retiring from the sport the following year. An Ambassador for World Masters Games 2017 he still coaches the sport to youngsters at Gisborne’s Waikanae Surf Lifesaving Club.  

Did You Know?

Every participant in surf lifesaving competition has to be a fully qualified lifeguard.

How to Get Involved?