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Rowing AustraliaJun 11, 2024 10:30:00 AM4 min read

Rowing Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia Team Up in Partnership of Olympic Proportions

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and Rowing Australia (RA) are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations, designed to create a new era of Olympians for Australia.

Working collaboratively, SLSA and RA will establish a pathway from Surf Life Saving through to one of the newest Olympic disciplines, Coastal Rowing, which will make its Olympic debut at the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

Together the two iconic sporting organisations will work hand in hand to not only create collaboration in participation across surf boat rowing and coastal rowing but will also work on high performance pathways designed to identify a new calibre of Olympic talent.

The partnership will also go beyond sport, with Surf Life Saving Australia support through its lifesaving services, including water safety, provide knowledge and expertise in setting up safety processes for events that will be delivered outside the traditional regatta environment.

SLSA will also gain access to Rowing Australia’s High Performance support system, creating an opportunity for lifesaving coaches and athletes to upskill their surf boat rowing with sports science support. Coaches to also have the opportunity develop their knowledge and skills through this share of information and partnership.

Georgie Rowe is an Olympic rower, world cup winner and has been a national rowing team representative for Australia since 2018. Coming from a surf lifesaving background, Georgie says the partnership is a natural fit.

“I am thrilled to hear that Rowing Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia are working together to promote and develop Coastal Rowing. Surf lifesaving athletes are some of the toughest, both physically and mentally. They put themselves through gruelling training sessions and thrive in some of the most challenging conditions. As well as their expertise in navigating the surf, their commitment to giving back to their community is commendable.

 My time in surf boat rowing brings such wonderful memories. Not only did I love the rowing but the friendships that I made are lifelong. After all the long hours put in, often it can come down to luck and sometimes it’s just you and your crew verse Mother Nature. That’s the beauty of it though. That’s surf boats!

 Still water rowing is a little more calculated, requires a lot more finesse and a greater technical understanding of how to move a boat in the most efficient way.

 Combining the skills of the surf boat rower and still water rower to me is a natural fit. What I love most about this collaboration is the opportunity it is providing to kids that may never have thought the Olympics would be possible.

 I am very proud of to be a part of both the Surf Life Saving and Rowing Australia Community and am excited to see what happens leading into and beyond the LA Olympics. Dream big kids, I did.”

 SLSA CEO Adam Weir said: “We are excited to partner with Rowing Australia to help encourage the pathways between surf lifesaving and rowing.

 “This partnership will give our surf lifesavers access to the start of an Olympic dream in one of the newest sports on the Olympic programme.

 “We’re also looking forward to working closely with Rowing Australia and its members to further educate them on water safety, first aid and other lifesaving services at the centre of our movement.

 “This partnership is extremely important to us at Surf Life Saving Australia, and we look forward to working with Rowing Australia to bring it to life,” he said.

 Rowing Australia CEO Sarah Cook OLY sees the partnership as a natural fit.

 “Surf Life Saving Australia and Rowing Australia are a natural fit as we see the rise and rise of coastal rowing and beach sprints all the way to the LA 2028 Olympics and beyond,” Rowing Australia CEO Sarah Cook OLY said.

 “Australia has a long tradition and lineage of champions in the sports of Rowing and Surf Life Saving and we look forward to creating a pathway to enable them to test their skills in this new discipline and provide a pathway through to the Olympics.

 “Both our athletes and our organisation can tap into the incredible knowledge SLSA and its athletes, who have an unrivalled feel for the ocean and the elements.”   

Lifesavers have their first chance to dive into the thrilling new discipline of rowing at this year’s Australian Coastal Rowing and Beach Sprints Championships in Mooloolaba, Queensland. The event, taking place from 15-18 August, offers something for everyone. Entries are now open for those wishing to compete in the championships and there will be a ‘Come & Try’ session on Wednesday, August 14, for those who want to experience the sport. For more information about the event, click here, or to enter the championships, click here.