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Every two years the International Lifesaving Federation organises the Lifesaving World Championships. This event showcases excellence in lifesaving sports and rescue; attracting the most talented and skilled lifesaving athletes to compete for the title of World’s best.
The sport of lifesaving contributes to the worldwide drowning prevention mission of International Life Saving. The sport is governed by the International Life Saving Federation who establishes rules for the purpose of ensuring a safe and fair system within which lifesaving competitions may be regulated and conducted.
Surf Life Saving sport showcases the skills and physical abilities required to save a life. Is has been acknowledged that greater participation in surf sports leads to more active lifesavers who are better equipped to meet the physical demands placed on them in emergency situations.
Lifesaving competitions consist of a variety disciplines to further develop and demonstrate lifesaving skills, fitness and motivation.
If you wish to find your personal record of achievements at the ILS Lifesaving World Championships, go to ILS Lifesaving Sport.
International event results are listed on the ILSF website
World Records are found at World Records
Stillwater rankings can be found at https://www.lifesavingrankings.com/
Lifesaving sport consists of a variety of competitions to further develop lifesaving skills, fitness and motivation. They are held at either the Pool, Beach or Ocean and include a combination of the following:
100m Obstacle Swim (Masters)
The competitor swims 100m in freestyle during which he/she swims under four (4) immersed obstacles.
200m Obstacle Swim
The competitor swims 200m in freestyle during which he/she swims under eight (8) immersed obstacles.
50m Manikin Carry
The competitor swims 25m freestyle and then dives to recover a submerged manikin to the surface within 5 m of the pick-up line. The competitor then carries the manikin to the finish edge of the pool.
100m Rescue Medley
The competitor swims 50m freestyle to turn, dive, and swim underwater to a submerged manikin located at 20m distance for men and 15m distance for women.
The competitor surfaces the manikin within the 5 m pick-up line, and then carries it the remaining distance to the finish edge of the pool.
100m Manikin Carry with Fins
The competitor swims 50m freestyle wearing fins and then dives to recover a submerged manikin to the surface within 10m of the turning edge.
The competitor carries the manikin to the finish edge of the pool.
100m Manikin Tow with Fins
The competitor swims 50m freestyle with fins and rescue tube.
After touching the turning edge, the competitor fixes the rescue tube around a manikin floating at the surface at the edge and tows it to the finish.
200m Super Lifesaver
The competitor swims 75m freestyle and then dives to recover a submerged manikin. The competitor surfaces the manikin within 5m of the pick-up line and carries it to the turning edge. After touching the wall, the competitor releases the manikin.
In the water, the competitor dons fins and rescue tube within 5m of the turning edge and swims 50m freestyle. After touching the wall, the competitor fixes the rescue tube around a floating manikin within 5m of the turning edge and tows it to touch the finish edge of the pool.
In this timed event, the competitor throws an unweighted line to a fellow team member located in the water approximately 12m distant and pulls this “victim” back to the poolside.
4x25m Manikin Relay
Four competitors in turn carry a manikin approximately 25m each.
4x50m Obstacle Relay
Four competitors swim 50m freestyle each passing under two (2) obstacles.
4x50m Medley Relay
The first competitor swims 50m freestyle without fins.
The second competitor swims 50m freestyle with fins.
The third competitor swims 50m freestyle pulling a rescue tube and after having touched the wall, passes the harness of the rescue tube to a fourth competitor who wears fins.
The third competitor, playing the role of “victim,” holds the rescue tube with both hands, while being towed 50m by the fourth competitor to the finish.
With a running start into the surf from the start line on the beach, competitors swim around the 400m (approximate) course designated by buoys, returning to shore to finish between the finish flags on the beach.
Surf Teams Race
With a running start into the surf from the start line on the beach, all three (3) members of each team swim around the 400m (approximate) course designated by buoys, returning to shore to finish between the finish flags on the beach.
Rescue Tube Rescue
The event consists of four persons – a patient, a Rescue Tube swimmer and two rescuers.
The rescue tube swimmer swims out behind the buoy line to secure the rescue tube around the patient and then tow the patient back to the beach.
On return to the beach, two rescuers must drag or carry the patient past the finish line.
Rescue Tube Race
On the acoustic starting signal, the competitors race up the beach to recover their rescue tubes, don their belt/harness, enter the water and swim to their designated buoy and after touching it, lift their arm to mark the end of the event.
Run Swim Run
From the start line, competitors run to pass around the turning flag and enter the water to swim out to and around the buoys. Competitors swim back to the beach to again run round the turning flag before running to the finish line.
From a prone starting position on the beach, competitors rise, turn and race to obtain a baton (beach flag) buried upright in the sand approximately 20 m away.
Since there are always fewer batons than competitors, those who fail to obtain a baton are eliminated.
Competitors take their positions in their allotted lanes. At the starting signal, competitors race the 90 m course to the finish line. The finish is judged on the competitor’s chest crossing the finish line. Competitors must finish the event on their feet in an upright position.
2 km: Competitors race 2.000m on the beach in four 500m legs
1 km: Competitors race 1.000m on the beach in four 500m legs
Teams of 4 individuals (3 in Masters) compete in baton relay fashion over a 90 m course.
To start, 2 (1 and 2 members in Masters) competitors take positions in their allotted lane at each end of the course.
After the start each competitor completes a leg of the course with a baton held in either hand and passes the baton at the conclusion of the first, second, and third legs to the next runner.
Surf Ski Race
Competitors steady their skis in line in knee-deep water about 1,5 m apart.
Competitors must obey directions from the starter or check starter concerning ski alignment at the start.
On the starting signal, competitors paddle their skis around the course marked by buoys and return to finish when any part of the ski crosses the in-water finish line – ridden, gripped, or carried by the competitor.
Surf Ski Relay
The ski relay race shall be conducted under the general rules of the ski race. Teams shall consist of 3 competitors, who may use the same craft.
Competitors stand on or behind the start line on the beach with their boards 1.5m apart.
At the start signal, competitors enter the water, launch their boards, and paddle the course marked by buoys, return to the beach, and run to cross the finish line.
The Board Relay event shall be conducted under the general rules of the Board Race event. Teams shall consist of 3 competitors, who may use the same craft.
In this event, 1 member of the team races approximately 120m to a designated buoy, signals, and waits to be picked up by the second member of the team on a board.
They both paddle to shore and cross the finish line on the beach with the board.
Competitors cover a 1,200m course that includes a swim leg, a board leg, a surf ski leg, and a beach sprint finish. Conditions of racing of each leg are as generally required for the individual conditions of that discipline including the rules governing the component disciplines: surf ski races, board races, surf races, beach sprints.
Teams of 4 competitors (1 swimmer, 1 board paddler, 1 surf ski paddler, and 1 runner) cover the course in a sequence of legs determined by draw at the start of each world championship programme.
The run leg is always the final leg.
If the ski leg is first, competitors shall start with a typical in-water start.
(Masters: Teams of 3 competitors – 1 swimmer, 1 board paddler, 1 surf ski paddler. There is no running leg in Masters Ocean Relay.)
Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC)
The Simulated Emergency Response Competition tests the initiative, judgment, knowledge, and abilities of 4 lifesavers who, acting as a team, apply lifesaving skills in a simulated emergency situation unknown to them prior to the start. This competition is judged within a 2-minute time limit. All teams respond to the identical situation and are evaluated by the same judges.
Surf Boat Event
Surf Boat Race
Boat crews stand in knee-deep water holding their boats about 23 m apart.
After the starting signal, crews’ row around the assigned turning buoys positioned approximately 400 m from the start and return to the beach.
The finish is determined by any part of the hull crossing the finish line from the seaward side, between the designated flags.
Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Events
Teams are comprised of 1 victim, 1 driver, and 1 crew member. The victim is positioned on the seaward side of the designated buoy.
The driver and crew member are on the beach side of the crew start / finish line adjacent to their beach position indicators.
On the starter’s signal, the crew launches the IRB, proceed through the surf to pick-up their victim, round their buoy, and return to shore to finish the event.
IRB Mass Rescue
Each team comprises of 1 driver, 1 crew person and 2 patients. Both patients are positioned in the water at their allocated patient pick-up buoy. The driver and crewperson are position adjacent to their respective beach position marker in readiness for a race start. On the starters “Go” signal, the driver and crew cross the start/finish line and proceed to the IRB, launch and proceed out to sea to pick up their first patient and then return to shore. The patient pick up commences on the seaward side of the patient pick up buoy. The driver and crew person may both assist with the patient lift.
Once back on shore, the driver exits and the crewperson controls the IRB and turns it around. The patient exits after the driver exits. The driver proceeds to the start/finish line, rounds their respective beach position marker and returns to the IRB. The IRB is relaunched and restarted and the crew proceeds out to sea to pick up their second patient and then returns to shore to finish the event.
IRB Team Rescue
Teams are comprised of 1 victim and 2 crews (1 driver and 1 crew member per crew). The victim is positioned on the seaward side of a designated buoy. Both crews are positioned on the beach side of the crew start / finish line adjacent to their beach position indicator.
On the starter’s signal, the first crew launch the IRB and proceed through the surf to the victim. On the inside of the turn as the IRB rounds the buoy, the crew member jumps overboard on the seaward side of the buoy. The driver completes the buoy turn and returns to shore alone.
Meanwhile the crew member of the second crew moves into the water.
The first driver stays in contact and in control of the IRB until the second crew member secures and takes control of the IRB. The first driver runs up the beach and crosses the crew start/finish line to tag the second driver who proceeds to the IRB.
The second crew re-launch the IRB, proceed through the surf, to pick-up the victim and the first crew member, round their buoy, and return to shore to finish the event.
IRB Rescue Tube
Teams are comprised of 1 victim, 1 driver, and 1 crew member. Victims are positioned at their respective victim buoys, set approximately 25 m on the seaward side of the turning buoys. Crew members are positioned on the beach side of the crew start / finish line, adjacent to their respective beach position indicators.
On the starter’s signal, competitors launch their IRBs, proceed through the surf and turn around their respective turning buoy. The crew member dons the rescue tube harness.
After the IRB has rounded the turning buoy, the crew member with harness donned and the rescue tube held in a secure grip, enters the water and swim past the turning buoy to their victims.
The crew member secures the rescue tube around the arms of the victim and tows the victim back to the IRB. Once the crew member contacts the IRB or driver, he or she may board before the victim. The driver may assist the crew member and / or victim into the IRB. Victims may assist themselves in boarding the IRB.
After the “victim lift” into the IRB has commenced, the driver drives the IRB around the team’s respective turning buoy and returns to shore to fin.
A competitor’s age is determined by how old he or she is as at 31 December of the year in which they are participating in the Lifesaving World Championships.
Age group eligibility is determined as follows:
Youth – 15 to 18 years of age
Open – Minimum 16 years of age
Masters M30 – 30 to 34 years of age
Masters M35 – 35 to 39 years of age
Masters M40 – 40 to 44 years of age
Masters M45 – 45 to 49 years of age
Masters M50 – 50 to 54 years of age
Masters M55 – 55 to 59 years of age
Masters M60 – 60 to 64 years of age
Masters M65 – Minimum of 65 years of age
Timing equipment is only used for pool life saving events however, times are not required for event entry. To participate in pool, beach or ocean events at the Lifesaving World Championships you must be selected by your club or national affiliation/federation.
The competition program will be available on the official website in late 2022.
The Gold Coast is located in the south east corner of the state of Queensland, Australia. The region is famous for its sub-tropical climate, pristine sandy beaches, lush tropical rainforests, laid-back atmosphere and variety of things to see and do. In 2022 the population stands at 721,687 and it is the 6th largest city and fastest growing region in the country.
The Gold Coast is easily accessed by two international airports, the Brisbane Airport and the Gold Coast Airport. Once you have arrived, you’ll find every mode of transport you’ll need to get around including G:link light rail, a range of coach services for groups, local Surfside buses, luxury transfers such as limousines and hummers, car hire, taxis and Uber/rideshare options are all easily arranged. With hotels and venues in close proximity to restaurants, activities and the beach, it’s a compact city that invites you to live like a local and readily explore what’s on offer.
The Gold Coast Airport is located 18.6km from Broadbeach and is approximately a 30-minute drive depending on traffic. The Gold Coast Airport provides services to destinations throughout Australia as well as international destinations such as New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo. The Covid-19 crisis has temporarily impacted destinations accessible from Gold Coast Airport. Check with individual airlines or your travel agent for updates on flight availability and schedules. Should your international flight preference be in or out of another major city such as Perth, Sydney or Melbourne, we recommend connecting into the Gold Coast Airport.
The Brisbane Airport is located 91.2km from Broadbeach and is approximately a 1 hour drive to 1.5 hour drive depending on traffic. Brisbane’s international network connects direct to 20 international destinations and provides access to all major international airlines across the globe. To keep up to date, visit Passenger Information when making your travel plans and prior to your arrival into Brisbane.
Go card is Translink’s electronic ticket to fast, easy and convenient travel in South East Queensland. Use go card on all Translink bus, train (including Airtrain), ferry and tram services in greater Brisbane, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast regions.
The best part about go card is it’s:
- Cheaper than a paper ticket
- Convenient to manage
- Easy to top-up and use
- Available for adults, children, concessions, seniors
Transfers to and from Gold Coast Airport and Brisbane City are available with a number of private operators. Scheduled transfers are available for arriving and departing passengers.
Con-X-ion – www.con-x-ion.com.au
Link Transfers – www.linktransfers.com.au
Scoot Transfers – www.transfers.flyscoot.com
Major car hire companies include Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and SIZT. They are located at both the domestic and international terminals at the Brisbane and Gold Coast Airports.
Rideshare services including Uber, Didi, Ola and Sheba are available at the Brisbane and Gold Coast Airports. Simply order your rideshare using your preferred app and follow the signs to the designated Rideshare Booking areas to meet with your driver.
Whatever your taste or budget, you’ll be sure to find a Gold Coast accommodation option to suit your needs on the Gold Coast. Hotels, Apartments, Ocean-side accommodation properties with breathtaking views, secluded mountain villas, gorgeous swimming pools (some shared with tropical fish), award-winning restaurants and spas are just few of the options available for your stay on the Gold Coast. For more information visit Where to Stay on the Gold Coast.
Go to the official LWC 2024 – Lifesaving World Championships 2024 website to register.
The Lifesaving World Championships 2024 will be held on Australia’s Gold Coast at two locations, Kurrawa Beach and the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. These two venues are 8.6km apart and take an average of 20 minutes by road to transfer between them.
Pool events will be held at the world class Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
Beach and ocean events will be held Kurrawa Beach, located at Broadbeach, Queensland.
This location is also the home of the Kurrawa Surf Club.
We will be monitoring and be guided by Public Health Directions issued by the Queensland Government to keep everyone Covid safe. Current and detailed information can be sourced at Covid-19 in Queensland.
At the end of the nineteenth century, several national lifesaving organisations were working with and learning from each other by exchanging lifesaving techniques and experiences. Organised international lifesaving activities date back to 1878 when an International Congress was hosted in Marseille in the South of France. In the decades since, there have been many independent national lifesaving achievements. A need for an international forum to exchange ideas was soon recognised. The dynamic Frenchman, Raymond Pitet organised a lifesaving congress in 1900 during the Paris World Fair with the purpose of setting up a world federation. He did not succeed in achieving this objective at that time but did not give up the idea.
From 25th to 30th January, 1910, Paris had to contend with heavy floods and the lifesavers were ever ready to act. These acts of human solidarity from the neighbouring countries incited Raymond Pitet to organise a new congress, this time in Saint-Ouen, a small town located 7km from the centre of Paris.
At this congress the Fédération Internationale de Sauvetage (FIS) was founded on 27th March, 1910 by federations from Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Spain and Italy could not attend the meeting but signed the deed of incorporation. FIS was incorporated in France and set up its head office after its foundation in Paris, in the home of Raymond Pitet.
In the following years congresses and international championships took place in European
countries but the First World War stopped the expansion of the International Federation. Between the two World Wars, attention was not only given to water rescue but also to road and mountain rescue services. After the Second World War, FIS became a leading authority in drowning prevention and lifesaving sport. In 1953, the first Pool Lifesaving World Championships took place. This was the start of the regularly organised world championships.
World Life Saving
World Life Saving (WLS) was founded on 24th March, 1971 in Cronulla, Australia. The final
approval of the Constitution came into effect on the 14th June, 1977. The founding members of World Life Saving were: Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America.
WLS was founded for the purpose of establishing educational marine safety and aquatic
programmes on a people-to-people basis. In 1974, the first World Surf Lifesaving Championships for National Teams took place in Port Elizabeth and Durban (South Africa). In 1981, the first World Surf Lifesaving Championships for Clubs took place in Kuta, Bali (Indonesia). In 1986, the Lifesaving Society Canada hosted WLS and FIS members at an international aquatic exposition in Vancouver which included an international lifesaving competition. Its title was “Rescue ‘86” – the beginning of the “Rescue” series of international meetings and competitions.
International Life Saving Federation
The International Life Saving Federation (ILS) was created at the jointly organised General
Assembly of FIS and WLS on 26th February, 1993 in Leuven (Belgium) by the official signing of the merging agreement between the Fédération Internationale de Sauvetage Aquatique (FIS) and World Life Saving (WLS).
On the same date FIS and WLS agreed on a draft ILS Constitution and draft Byelaws. ILS was
constituted on Saturday, 3rd September, 1994 in Cardiff (United Kingdom). The creation date marks the official founding of ILS. The first Lifesaving World Championships under the auspices of ILS also took place in 1994 in Cardiff and Newquay (United Kingdom) and encompassed both pool and ocean competition. This Championship and subsequent biennial ILS Championships conducted up until 2012 were called the “Rescue” Championships.
In 2014 the word “Rescue” was replaced with the term “Lifesaving World Championships” (LWC) to better describe the ILS LWC and to delineate from the biennial ILS World Conference on Drowning Prevention.
Source: International Life Saving Federation, Competition Rule Book, 2019 Edition – Section 1 – International Lifesaving Federation
The Lifesaving World Championships 2024 is proudly supported by:
- Tourism and Events Queensland
- Major Events Gold Coast
- Destination Gold Coast
Additional sponsors will be advised in due course.
You can register to volunteer at the event on the official website Lifesaving World Championships 2024.
You can register to work at the event on the official website.
Please contact Jessica Grima, Senior Marketing Manager at Surf Lifesaving Queensland by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 7 3846 8000.
Please fill out the Contact Form on our website and we will endeavour to provide a response within 48 hours of receipt of your enquiry.
To keep up with the latest updates, we encourage you to follow our social media accounts as follows:
To keep up with the latest updates, we encourage you to visit our official event website and follow our social media accounts as follows: