A record 7,200 athletes from more than 300 surf clubs across Australia have arrived on the Gold Coast for the 2022 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
- The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, known as the Aussies, will run for nine days on the Gold Coast from this weekend
- More than 7,000 athletes are registered to compete in the championships
- Events will be held at Broadbeach, Kurrawa and North Kirra
The annual event, known as the Aussies, puts competitors’ skills to the test in a range of beach and ocean competitions.
This year’s event was originally meant to be held in Western Australia, but late last year the decision was made to shift to the Gold Coast due to border uncertainty.
Aussies Committee chair John Brennan said athletes were ready to go after a disruptive couple of years.
“We’re ready to go with a record number of entries — just over 7,000 — over 1,000 more than we had in 2019, pre-COVID,” he said.
“On top of the athletes of over 7,000, close to 500 officials, water safety, medical, support staff, it’s a big event.
“While it’s a national championship, it’s a great time to come together and catch up with everyone.”
Boost to the city
Gold Coast deputy mayor Donna Gates said the event would deliver a boost to local accommodation providers.
“The Commonwealth Games was almost as big in terms of athlete numbers, but this tops it,” she said.
“The aim of the city has been to increase bed nights, and this event does exactly that.”
Poole’s final lap
Gold Coast ironman Matt Poole has a different mindset heading into this event — his final competition before retirement.
“Usually you’re really nervous, you’re focused on getting good results,” he said.
The Northcliffe competitor shocked teammates when he told them there was a 50/50 chance he would compete in the ironman event.
“I feel like it was such a fairytale finish for me,” he said.
“I really just want to put an emphasis on giving my all to the team events for Northcliffe.”
Admitting he was feeling “every bit of 33”, Poole said he would consider competing if the swell picked up.
Back to roots
Northcliffe ironwoman Courtney Hancock’s first Australian titles was on the Gold Coast, so a local Aussies holds a special place in her heart.
“It’s all becoming very real now, [I’m] getting very excited,” she said.
“All the work’s done, now it’s time to rest and get ready to go on Wednesday.
She said she loved the team nature of Aussies.
“The wonderful thing about Aussies is you get to put your club cap on, it’s a beautiful time to support each other and be with your family club,” she said.