Board and Ski

The board and surf ski events are two exam­ples of ‘craft’ surf life­sav­ing events. These involve pad­dling a fibre­glass board or ski from the beach, through the break and around a defined course (set by buoys) and back to the water’s edge to cross the fin­ish line. Up to six­teen com­peti­tors or teams may com­pete in a sin­gle heat, with sev­er­al heats, semi-finals and finals con­duct­ed dur­ing a car­ni­val, depend­ing on the num­ber of entrants.

Whether for fit­ness or com­pe­ti­tion, there is always some train­ing on all year round, view cal­en­dar for details.

Wes Gould-2

There are many vari­a­tions of board and ski events, these are briefly out­lined below.

Board Race

This is an indi­vid­ual event where­by a com­peti­tor must pad­dle a board around a course (dis­tance is based on age group), from a stand­ing start on the beach. The win­ner is the first com­peti­tor to cross the fin­ish line on their feet and in con­tact with their board. Divi­sions include Male and Female in:

  • 250m – Open, u19, u17, Youth u15, Mas­ters
  • 220m – Youth u14
  • 170m – Nip­pers u11, u12, u13
  • 100m – Nip­pers u9, u10

Board Relay

This is a team event of three pad­dlers each com­plet­ing the board course (dis­tance is based on age group). Upon return­ing to the beach, each team mem­ber in the first and sec­ond legs of the relay will tag the next per­son in their team. The team mem­ber com­pet­ing third cross­es the fin­ish line. Divi­sions include Male and Female in:

  • 250m – Open, u19, u17, Youth u15, Mas­ters
  • 220m – Youth u14
  • 170m – Nip­pers u11, u12, u13
  • 100m – Nip­pers u9, u10

Board Rescue

Each team con­sists of two mem­bers – one swim­mer and one board pad­dler. The swim­mer or ‘patient’ enters the water and swims to a buoy where they raise their hand to sig­nal to their board pad­dler team mate to enter the water and res­cue them. The dis­tance is approx. 120m. When the board pad­dler reach­es their swim­mer, the swim­mer climbs onto the board and both com­peti­tors pad­dle the board back to the beach. Divi­sions include Male and Female in: Open, u19, u17; Youth u15, u14; Nip­pers u10, u11, u12, u13 and Mas­ters cat­e­gories.

Ski Race

Indi­vid­ual com­peti­tors pad­dle a ski around a course of at least 300m from knee-deep water. Dou­ble ski com­peti­tors will pad­dle approx­i­mate­ly 50m fur­ther. Divi­sions for the sin­gle and dou­ble ski include Mens and Wom­ens in Open, U19, U17 and Mas­ters. The dou­ble ski is also con­duct­ed as a mixed men and women event in the Open divi­sion. You must be 16 years of age or old­er to com­pete in ski events.

Ski Relay

A team of three pad­dlers com­plete the ski course of at least 300m each. Upon return­ing to the beach the com­peti­tors who com­plete the first and sec­ond legs will tag the next per­son on their team, with the third cross­ing the fin­ish line. Divi­sions for the ski relay include Open, u19 and Mas­ters. There is no dou­ble ski relay.

Cameron Relay

Teams of four com­peti­tors com­pris­ing of a board pad­dler, surf swim­mer and two run­ners. The order of the water legs are drawn by bal­lot. The first com­peti­tor enters the water, rounds the buoys and returns to shore where they tag the first run­ner. The first run­ner rounds turn­ing flags and tags the next com­peti­tor who rounds the buoys (in the water) and tags the last run­ner. The last run­ner runs to the fin­ish line. Divi­sions include male and female in: Nip­pers u9, u10, u11, u12 and u13.

Multi Discipline


This event trains life­savers with the ulti­mate endurance abil­i­ty. The Iron­man and Iron­woman events are con­ducted over a course con­sist­ing of a swim, surf ski and surf board for age group u17, u19 and open and the ski leg is removed for Youth: u15, u14 and Nip­pers: u13, u12, u11, u10. The race con­cludes with a beach sprint to the fin­ish line. The order of the dis­ci­plines may vary and is decid­ed by draw 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 dis­ci­plines may vary and is decid­ed by draw pri­or to the event.

The Taplin Relay event may be con­ducted in three per­son (one swim­mer, one surf board and one surf ski pad­dler), six per­son (two com­peti­tors for each water leg), or four per­son (one com­peti­tor per water leg plus a beach sprint­er to com­plete the race) vari­a­tions.

Life­saver Relay

Teams shall be com­prised of nine com­peti­tors includ­ing one surf boat crew, one swim­mer, one surf board pad­dler, one surf ski pad­dler and one beach sprint­er. This event is con­ducted over a course con­sist­ing of a surf boat, a surf ski, a surf board, a swim and a beach sprint. The surf boat leg will always be the first leg as will the beach sprint always con­clud­ing the race. The order of the oth­er legs is drawn by bal­lot. Each leg shall fol­low a course from the beach out to sea, round­ing buoys and return­ing to tag the next leg com­peti­tors.