Lifesaving Competitions

Types of Competitions

In the Western Province we currently have 3 types of competitions:

–          Carnivals

–          Specialised Events

–          Western Province Championships

In addition, clubs may compete at the LSA Surf Lifesaving championships each season.

  • Carnivals

These are small competitions hosted by different lifesaving clubs throughout each season.  There are generally 2 or 3 of these competitions each season.  A selection of approximately 6 – 8 of the more popular events are chosen.  These competitions often serve as preliminary trials for the selection of the WP Lifesaving Team which competes at Inter-regionals.

  • Specialised Events

These are annual competitions hosted by the same club each season.  Each of these has a different format described below.

1)      Rescue Classic (Llandudno SLC)

This is an Open competition which focuses on the more rescue orientated events and includes Rescue Tube Rescue, Reel Alarm, Board Rescue and Craft Rescue.  Each club may enter a team of up to 10 lifeguards.  Each of the four events will be run 3 times during the event and prizes are issued for the winners in each category.

2)      8-Man Classic (Llandudno SLC)

This is an Open competition where each club enters a team of 8 competitors.  These lifeguards are generally all-rounders.  Approximately 10-12 events are run at this competition and competitors do not select the events they would like to compete in. The names are submitted prior to the competition and competitors are drawn randomly for certain events.  Events include beach sprints and flags, Beach run, Surf Swim, Run-Swim-Run, Single Ski, Ski Relay, Taplin Relay, Board Rescue, Craft Rescue, Reel Alarm, Beach Relay, Board Relay and Double Ski.  There is also the infamous Llandudno SLC afterparty at which the non-LWP certified “Boat Race” takes place!!  Prizes are issued for the top 3 teams.

3)      Pride of the Bay (Fish Hoek SLC)

This is an Open competition where each club enters a team of 10 members.  Similar to the 8-man classic there are 10-12 events but at Pride of the Bay, each team gets to select which lifeguards do which events. This means that a competitor may be selected as a ‘specialist’ particularly in the beach events.  It also includes the gruelling ‘Enduro Relay” as the last event of the day in which each member of the 10-man team completes a leg of the final relay.  Prizes are issued for the top 3 teams and the winners of the Enduro Relay.

4)      Masters Classic (Big Bay SLC)

As its name implies, this competition is for the Masters. both men and women. Masters may compete in the following categories: 30-34 yrs; 35-39 yrs; 40-44yrs; 45-9yrs; 50-54yrs; 55-59yrs; 60-4yrs; 65 yrs and over.  A number of the most popular events are run at this competition including team events which are divided into age categories based on the sum of the ages of the individual members in that team.  This competition is generally a lot of fun and a real ‘blast from the past’!

  • Western Province Championships

These championships are the pinnacle of the Western Province Lifesaving competitive season and are generally held 3 – 4 weeks before the SA Surf Lifesaving Championships.  They are held over 1.5 days hosted by a different club each season.  In the WP, there is an unwritten agreement that these champs will alternate between a cold water and warm water beach each season if possible.  All events are contested at this competition and at least 75% of the water events must be contested in order for the title of Western Province Champions to be awarded.  Lifeguards compete in their age categories and may compete in a higher age group as well but may not compete in a lower age group.  Team events are competed as either a Junior (u/16 and u/19 competitors combined) or Senior event.  There are also a limited number of Masters events at this competition.

Lifeguards / clubs may choose the events they wish to compete in and will compete individually for the title of ‘Competitor of the Competition” within their age group.  Each club team will vie for the title of WP Champions in each age group based on the cumulative points scored by all their competitors and the Grand Aggregate Trophy is given to the club that scores the most points in the Senior / Open category.

Reel Alarm Race – Teams consist of 6 members, the Patient, Beltman or Swimmer, 3 Linesmen and the Reelman.  It is a simulated rescue using the Reel in which teams race to fetch and haul in a mock-patient who is 120m out to sea.  The winner is the first team to cross the finish line without being disqualified.

Rescue Tube Rescue Race – Teams consist of 4 members, the Patient, Swimmer and 2 Carriers.  This is also a simulated rescue event using the Rescue Tube in which teams race to fetch, rescue and correctly carry a patient across the finish line.

Surf Race – This is an individual swimming event in which competitors run straight into the water and race around a set of buoys to the finish line which is a short distance from the waters edge.  The swim distance is approximately 285m.  This may also be contested as a team event, in which a team’s position is calculated from the individual positions of its 4 top competitors. Run-Swim-Run – This is similar to the surf swim event with the exception that competitors run 200m before entering the water and 200m on exiting the water.  This event is also a standard lifesaving event used in the annual retest and qualifying exams for lifeguards.Ski races – These comprise the Single ski event in which a competitor competes

individually and races around 3 buoys on the ski route, the Double ski event in which competitors compete in pairs on the Double ski and complete the same route, and the Ski relay in which teams of 3 must race around the 3 buoys in a relay.

Craft Rescue – In this event teams of 5 lifeguards line up.  On the start line they draw their positions which are the Rescuer, Patient and 3 Carriers. Teams then race to fetch and return a patient to shore using

the Rescue Craft. Board Races – These comprise the individual Malibu board (kneeboard) race in which competitors race around 2 buoys on the route and the board relay in which teams of 3 competitors race around this same route in a relay.Ocean man / Ocean woman – This event was previously known as Ironman and Diamond lady.  Competitors compete individually in a consecutive 3 leg event consisting of a surf swim, single ski and board race.Taplin Relay – Teams of 4 members compete in this 4 leg relay in which one competitor completes the swim leg, one competitor completes the ski leg, one competitor completes the board leg and competitor will complete a short sprint leg.Board Rescue – Teams of 2 lifeguards contest this event where one is the racing patient and one is the rescuer. The patient races 120m out to a buoy and raises his/her hand as the signal for the rescuer to race out and fetch him on the board.

Beach Sprints – competitors race individually in a 90m sprint on the beachBeach Relay – teams of 4 competitors compete in a relay with 4 legs of the 90m sprint track.  The baton hand-over is quite technical and is often a point of disqualification for teams.Beach flags – This is a very entertaining event in w

hich competitors lay down in a line across the beach

 all facing the sea.  On a set of commands they have to jump up and turn around and race 20m up the beach to a set of batons spaced along a parallel line to the sea.  On each round there is one less baton than competitors and so one competitor will be eliminated in each round.  The winner is the last man/woman left.Beach Run – This is commonly referred to as the Long Run and individuals race around a set of flags on the beach.  The distances differ per age group where u/16’s run 1,4km, u/19’s run 1,6km and the open/senior and masters categories run 2km.Boat Race – This is a traditional event that appears to be making a comeback! In this event teams of 5 competitors (4 rowers and 1 sweep) race a Surf Boat around a buoy a minimum of 400m out to sea.  There are a variety of formats that this race can be contested in which they vary in the start and finish of the race, although the accepted format is one in which one crew member races from the start line to tag the boat.  All crew members then board the boat and race around the buoys to cross the finish line between 2 flags positioned in shallow water.

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