Surf Lifesaving Carnivals

Surf Life Saving is recognised as one of the most effective surf rescue services in the world. To maintain this professionalism Surf Sports play a key role in improving lifesaving skills, fitness and motivation.

Every summer Queensland’s top lifesavers line up across the state to take on the surf and sand in an exciting season of sport on the beach.

Young and old, professionals and beginners alike will come together at a beach near you, delivering a thrilling carnival that’s not to be missed.

Best of all – it’s free! All you have to do is find a spot on the sand or under a tree and you’re in for a day at the beach you’ll never forget.

If you’re visiting the Gold Coast for the Surf Life Saving Carnivals take a look at the accommodation on offer.

Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, Kirra Beach, 13-19 April 2015

What started in 1915 at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach fast became a tradition that is still going nearly 100 years on. The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, better known as “the Aussies”, is a premier Australian sporting event consisting of a two week festival on the beach.

The festival includes three main categories; the Australian Youth Surf Life Saving Championships, Australian Masters Surf Life Saving Championships, and the Australian Open Surf Life Saving Championships.

While the 2014 event was held in Perth, 2015 will see “the Aussies” return to fabulous Kirra Beach right here on the Gold Coast. So set aside some time from the 13th to 19th of April in 2015 to see the best of the best run, paddle and swim their way into the final rounds of the Surf Life Saving Championships.

While “the Aussies” are the pinnacle of Surf Life Saving’s sporting calendar, there are also a number of other events throughout the year that showcase their skills and abilities in particular fields.

Laerdal Surf Rescue Championships - February 2015

The Laerdal Surf Rescue Championships, supported by equipment manufacturer Laerdal, focuses not only on the athleticism of lifesavers but also their knowledge and important skills necessary to excel as patrolling members. Competitors are tested on patrolling, first aid scenarios, beach sprints, and even a theory paper to decide the winner out of over 150 fellow lifesavers.

State Board Riding Championships - February 2015

Held on Stradbroke Island, the State Board Riding Championships were initially introduced as a tool to recruit and retain new members to Lifesavers that had left to pursue other sports such as surfing. The two day competition sees over 100 competitors, some younger than 11 years of age, hitting the waves to showcase their surfing skills on both long and short boards.

Queensland Senior State Championships - March 2015

This is the pinnacle event on the SLSQ's sporting calendar. Attracting over 2,000 competitors from across the state, the Senior State Championships test the mettle of experienced lifesavers as they battle surf, sand and each other for state glory. It's a great competition for spectators with the best of the best of Queensland battling it out over 3 days.

Queensland Junior State Championships - March 2015

The Queensland Junior State Championships is the largest and one of the most prestigious Surf Life Saving events for younger members. It sees the finest young talent from around the state compete for state glory. Attracting over 1,500 young challengers, it's a competitive display of skill and the life savers of tomorrow.

IRB Competition - May-June 2014

Also known as the Ocean Roar, this is a high octane event of thrills and spills as life savers display their rescue abilities in the high speed Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRB). Round 3 takes place at Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast on the 24th and 25th of May, Round 4 at Pt Lookout, Stradbroke Island on the 7th and 8th of June before the competition holds its State Championships in Townsville on the last weekend of June.

Pool Rescue Competition - 10 September 2014

A recent return to the carnival program is this test of water based rescue skills. Competitors in age groups as young as the under-11s compete in events such as manikin tows, obstacle swims and tube swims carrying patients. Check your local club for competition locations.

Queensland State Endurance Championships - October 2015

The State Endurance Championships were re-introduced to bring a finale to the season of endurance surf sports. Competitors from under-11s and up can compete in a series of long distance disciplines including swimming, board paddling, surf skiing, surf boat marathon, and beach running. The last event saw over 500 contestants battle it out.


If you’re thinking of introducing your child to life saving, or you want them to learn some strong swimming skills, they can join the Surf Life Saving Junior Activities; Nippers. The junior program is for children aged 5 to 13 years and aims to give them a strong surf awareness and water safety skills so they can keep themselves safe at the beach.

Every Surf Life Saving club has a Nippers program so children can participate in board paddling, surfing, swimming, running, wading and lots of other fun beach activities.

The whole family can get involved too, with plenty of supporting roles you can play as a parent. The Nippers program is a great way for children to have fun and meet new friends as they learn valuable skills for life on the coast.

YIPs – Youth Involvement Program

Once you’re too old for Nippers you can move on to the Youth Involvement Program, or YIPs. A reward program for 13 to 25 year olds, YIPs engages you in lifesaving while teaching lifesaving skills, personal development, contributing to community projects and even competing in life saving competitions. You can enter into many of the Surf Life Saving Queensland competitions, with a number of beach sports events on the SLSQ calendar set to take place up and down the Queensland coast.

By building up skills and time spent patrolling YIPs can achieve either Bronze, Silver, or Gold accreditations which look great on a young person’s resume.