Mayor’s Message for the Lifesaving World Championships 2024

Tom Tate was elected Mayor of the Gold Coast, Australia’s sixth largest city, in 2012. He was re-elected for a second term in 2016 and a third term in 2020. Tom is dedicated to reducing the cost of living pressures facing residents, reforming Council, cutting waste and broadening the Gold Coast’s economic base beyond its cornerstones of tourism and construction.

Tom is a civil engineer by trade, having graduated from the University of NSW in the early 1980s. He started his career in the construction industry and later moved into the tourism and hospitality industry.

With a strong business background, Tom has spent his time in office ensuring everyone knows that the Gold Coast is ‘open for business’. This has seen certainty return to the city, which in turn has boosted confidence and created significant investment across the Gold Coast. Tom is leading a city that is embracing change and dreaming big.

His focus for the future is to build on the legacy of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games by focusing on the key areas of transport and digital infrastructure; health, education and knowledge; events; culture and business investment. Tom is committed to ensuring a future for the Gold Coast that includes a stronger economy, more jobs and protecting the city’s enviable lifestyle.

Tom has been married to his wife, Ruth for over 40 years and together they have four children.

The multi-cultural Mayor was born in Asia and is fluent in three languages.

Chairman’s Message of Welcome

On behalf of the Local Organising Committee and Surf Life Saving Queensland, it is my pleasure to invite all ILS Member Nations to participate in the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 on Australia’s Gold Coast. This is the third Lifesaving World Championships I have had the honour of chairing and with the support of everyone involved, it is my goal to deliver the most inclusive, inspiring and best ever attended Lifesaving World Championships for your enjoyment.

The support offered by the Queensland Government, the City of Gold Coast and our important sponsors, will help make the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 a very memorable experience for our international visitors and all Australians who participate. The beauty and vast range of experiences available on the Gold Coast will make the visit very memorable for competitors, officials, their families and friends from around the World.

Ocean and beach events will be conducted on the pristine beach and parklands at Kurrawa, Broadbeach while all pool competition will be held in the city’s first-class Aquatic Centre at Southport.  All meetings, functions and assemblies will be conducted in the Broadbeach precinct close to the beach and surrounded by a range of excellent accommodation and hospitality venues.

We are offering a Developing Nations Assistance Program available for eligible ILS Member Nations to apply. This program will be launched late 2023 and extended to 20 Nations.

If you want to see the World’s best surf lifesavers in action including lifesavers from at least 50 nations and more than 7,000 competitors and officials, we invite you to come along. The Lifesaving World Championships have not been held in Queensland since 1988 and Surf Life Saving Queensland is doing everything to plan and deliver a world class event. Have a look at the program on the website  and you will see how extensive this event will be.

SEE YOU IN 2024!


Gerard O’Brien
President, Surf Life Saving Queensland

Gerard is a professional and successful Senior Executive and Director with over 30 years’ experience in strategic leadership, general management, business development, financials reporting, governance, project/change management and risk manager.

Gerard has been involved in SLSQ for over 20 years and variety of roles but most recently the Sunshine Coast Branch President.

Gerard has MBA from Georgetown University Business School majoring in International Finance, current members of the Certified Practicing Accountant and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Experienced in large and small corporate companies and has industry experience in Not-for-Profit Organisations.

Carol Fox
Deputy President, Surf Life Saving Queensland

As a Life Member of Lorne SLSC in Victoria, Carol has been involved in many areas of Surf Lifesaving both at a Club and State level including:  Patrol Captain, Competitor, Paid beach lifeguard, Club Secretary and Host of the Lifesaving Victoria Awards of Excellence.

Carol has over 30 years of collaborating with all levels of Sport, Government agencies (including state emergency services), and Educational Institutions as a workshop facilitator, lecturer, conference speaker and executive coach.

Her career includes roles as a state sport executive officer and a university lecturer at Victoria University in the Human Movement and Sport Administration Degrees. She is Owner/Director of the Training and Coaching Company Carol Fox & Co.

As the Former President of Women Sport Australia for 5 years, Carol also holds Ambassador roles for Victoria University Women In Sport Research, AFLW She Can Coach Program and the Women Sport Australia Mentor Program.

Ron Rankin AM
Chair & Project Director, Lifesaving World Championships 2024

Ron Rankin AM is a long serving and distinguished member of Surf Life Saving Australia, having been actively involved in lifesaving for more than 58 years.  Ron is a Past President of Surf Life Saving Australia (9 years) and Surf Life Saving Queensland (13 years). 

He is a past Director of the International Lifesaving Federation, past Vice President for the Asia Pacific Region and past Chairman of the Southern Region Westpac Lifesaver HRS. This is Ron’s third time as Chair of the Lifesaving World Championships having previously chaired the event in 2006 and 2012.

Ron was awarded a World Life Saving Citation in 1986 and International Lifesaving Citations of merit in 1993 and 2006 in recognition of his selfless dedication to aquatic safety internationally. He was given the honour of being named the first Australian Surf Lifesaver of the Year in 1982 and is the only surf lifesaver in Australia to receive this award on two occasions.

Ron was named Queensland and Australian Lifesaver of the Year in 1981/82 and 1983/84. In 1998 he was recognized with an Australia Medal (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List and in 2000 an Australia Sports Medal.

At Club level, Ron has held numerous positions including President, Secretary and Treasurer at his beloved Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club.  He was awarded Life Membership of the Club in 1983 and Life Governor in 1994.  He also received his SLSA Year Patrol Services Award at this Club for over 30 years of active service and was awarded Lifesaver of the Year for his club on 4 separate occasions.

Ron has been active in Surf Sports as a competitor, manager and official.  He was the Referee for the Queensland Championships for five years and a Sectional Referee at many Australian Championships from 1979.  He has also been the Manager for successful Australian Teams competing at an international level.

Brad Russell
Director, Surf Life Saving Queensland

Brad and his family have had an involvement in surf lifesaving over many generations. Brad joined Emu Park as a nipper in 1972 and is currently an active long service member of Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving Club.

Brad is a Partner of a leading Australian law firm and a director of an internationally recognised innovative insurance and risk advisory business. In his roles as lawyer, risk and insurance advisor, Brad assists clients in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors in terms of identifying, understanding and managing their risks whether by insurance or other risk management protocol and methods.

Turning adversity into commercial opportunity and innovation are particular skills for which Brad is known. Brad’s professional qualifications include being a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, admitted solicitor of various Supreme Courts as well the Federal and High Court of Australia.

Dave Whimpey
Chief Executive Officer, Surf Life Saving Queensland

Dave Whimpey is a highly experienced and respected business leader, currently serving as the CEO of Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), the peak body for surf lifesaving in Queensland, Australia.

With over 25 years of experience in senior management and leadership roles, Dave has an extensive track record of success in both the private and public sectors. 

Dave’s mantra is strategy, structure, staff, and renewal, creativity, and innovation and believes that intuition is no substitute for deep data analytics, and one must have a keen eye on the numbers to understand and drive the future direction of the business.

David Nothard
Chief Financial Officer, Surf Life Saving Queensland

David is an active member of the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club and volunteers for Surf Life Saving Queensland Operations Support.

As Chief Financial Officer for Surf Life Saving Queensland, David provides support to strategic execution and change management. David is a strategic thinker with extensive financial and commercial experience across a diverse range of industries. Working together to deliver sustainable funding and support growth is his mantra. He brings a wealth of expertise in financial analysis and project controllership, with a proven track record of delivering organisational performance improvements. David is also Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Company Secretary.


The Local Organising Committee leaders, led by Project Director and Chair Ron Rankin AM, have been carefully selected to ensure we put on the best attended, most inclusive and most inspiring Lifesaving World Championships ever.


The Local Organising Committee thanks Our Ambassadors who have come on board to support the Lifesaving World Championships 2024 in many ways.

John Baker, ESM

John Baker has been an active lifesaver for 45 years as a patrolling member, competitor and office bearer at club, state, national and international levels. He is a Life Member of Brighton SLSC, Surf Life Saving SA and Surf Life Saving Australia and he was inducted into to SLSSA Hall of Fame in 2021.

John is in his third year as National President, having been Deputy National President for five years and State President for 10 years prior to that.

John was on the Event Committee for the 2012 Lifesaving World Championships, and he was Chairman of the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships.

In 2017 John was awarded the National Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for distinguished service with the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.

Arno Eberle

Arno’s lifelong passion for lifesaving started as a lifeguard at the age of 12 years old and he has been a Technical Official since the age of 16.  He holds a German lifesaving certificate in Bronze, Silver and Gold, is a pool lifesaving instructor and a rescue boat driver.

He has been President of a German Lifesaving Club for 15 years and some of his proudest achievements in this role include construction of a club house and acquisition of a rescue boat and a car for his club.

Since 1996 Arno has been an International Referee for pool competition and since 1998 an International Referee for ocean competition.  He has held the responsibility of Chief Referee at several Lifesaving World Championships, the last one being for the National Open competition in Italy in 2023.

Arno is a member of the ILSE College of Referees and a Member of the ILS Sports Commission Rulebook Committee.  In 2023 Arno will be attending in an Official capacity at the 1st round of the DLRG Trophy, the DLRG Cup in Warnemuende, European Championships in Belgium and the German Cup in Warendorf.

Jolanda van Dalen

The sport of Lifesaving has been Jolanda’s passion all her life.  She has experienced all the mental and physical demands of a top athlete representing the Dutch National Team for 10 years.  She competed and won medals at the European World Championships and the World Games.  Following this she became the National Coach, a Board Member of Sport and Vice President of the Dutch Lifesaving Organisation.

These experiences have allowed Jolanda to build a vast knowledge in the field of lifesaving. She has held many National and International positions and was a member of the ILS Sport Commission for 12 years. In 2016 Jolanda was the President of the Lifesaving World Championships held in the Netherlands.  Jolanda is currently Chef de Mission of the National Teams and has returned to the National Federation.  She received the honour of a Royal Award – Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau and Dame in the Order of Lifesaving.  

Brian Velvin, MNZM

Brian Velvin has been actively involved in lifesaving for over 60 years.  He joined the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club in New Zealand as a 10-year-old where he gained his Surf Medallion and qualified as a lifeguard.  He is now a Life Member of the Fitzroy Surf Lifesaving Club, Surf Lifesaving Taranaki and Surf Lifesaving New Zealand.

He competed in swimming, rescue and resuscitation, surf boat and IRB events and was selected to represent Taranaki at the age of 16.  He carried on to win national titles then followed this in coaching roles including being Team Manager of the Alan Gardner winning Club team.  Brian became an Official and quickly advanced to national status.  During this time, he managed multiple national and international events for all lifesaving disciplines.  He was on the national Competition Appeals Committee, is a Level 2 Surf Official assessor, past Chair of the Sport Committee and Surf Officials Advisory Group.

Brian has also been involved at an administration level for lifesaving, starting at Club level followed by national responsibilities including five years as Chief Superintendent, nine years as a board member with four of those years as Chairman of the Board. 

In 1984 his international involvement commenced at the World Championships in Hawaii.  Since then he has been involved as an Official at 12 Lifesaving World Championships and delivered papers at two international events on various lifesaving topics.  He has held the position of Vice Chairman of the International Sports Commission and was elected to the Board of Directors for International Lifesaving.  Brian’s awards include Westpac “Outstanding Rescue of the Year”, Queens Honour of “MNZM” for services to lifesaving and is a “Grand Knight in the Order of Lifesaving”.

Adam Weir

Adam is a life-long member of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club. He has been a successful competitor at all levels of surf sport competition, is a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal, and has held a variety of roles at both Surf Life Saving State and National levels. He is Chair of the International Life Saving (ILS) Rescue Commission and a member of the International Life Saving Rescue Operations Committee. Adam is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Surf Life Saving Australia in June 2018.

Todd Velvin

Todd Velvin attained his Bronze Medallion (Surf Lifeguard Award) in 1988. He has held numerous roles in surf, including being on the National Board of Directors as well as national, regional and local sports committees. One of his most important roles is leading his local club Fitzroy as President.

Todd has competed in most areas of surf sport from Rescue and Resuscitation to IRB Racing. He has competed and medalled with his father and is now racing with his son. One of his passions is officiating as an announcer at national and international lifesaving events as well as being the emcee at the Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Awards. Todd is an active Search and Rescue team member for the Taranaki Surf Rescue Squad where he finds any opportunity to be in the water is a great day.

Greg Allum AM

Greg Allum is an ILS Grand Knight and a member of the ILS Hall of Fame.  He has been a member of the ILS Sport Commission since 1996 and is the current Chair of the ILS Sport Regulations Committee.  Greg is also a past ILS Board Member who, as a volunteer member of more than 50 years, is passionate about lifesaving sport to promote the humanitarian goal of improving worldwide water safety.

Greg is a past Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) Board Member, Director of Competition, Australian Open Ironman Champion and national representative as an athlete, coach and official.  He has been recognised with Life Membership of his Club, Branch, State, SLSA, and is a member of the SLSA Hall of Fame.

Greg has been involved in every Lifesaving World Championship since inception of ILS in 1994, either as a member of the LWC Organising and Competition Committees, as a Chief Referee, or in other senior roles.

Greg is very enthusiastic about Surf Life Saving Queensland’s planning for LWC 2024 led by past  SLSA President and ILS Board Member Ron Rankin AM and his very capable Board and experienced Committee.  He is confident that the ILS Meetings and Championships will be the best organised and delivered to date, and is honoured to be an Ambassador assisting to support LWC 2024.

Bruce Matheson

Attaining his Surf Lifeguard Award in 1979 Bruce has involved himself in everything surf lifesaving offers.  This includes Club Instructor, Regional Lifeguard, Regional Representative, recipient of Club and Regional Service Awards, Life Membership of the Eastern Region and more recently Nationals Event Referee and Sectional Referee at LWC 2018.

Bruce is a surf boat rower who has Chaired the National Surf Boat Committee for the past five years and is currently the New Zealand Team Manager of the Oar Blacks male and female Surf Boat Representative Team. Bruce is a delegate on the ILS Rules and Regulations Committee reporting to the ILS Sport Commission. He is extremely passionate to see continued membership led progression of our volunteers, supported by staff who see the value and experience that we all bring by way of our motto “In it for Life.”

Detlev Mohr

Volunteering for Drowning prevention and Water Safety is essential for Detlev.  For him, a day without engagement in lifesaving is a day he could not imagine.

Detlev Mohr has been an active lifesaver and rescue boat driver since 1971.  He was a national team competitor and has organised national and international lifesaving competitions such as the World Games 2005, and was Sports Director of the Lifesaving World Championships Rescue 2008 in Germany.  He always likes to share his experiences from his long career in international lifesaving.  As ILS Custodian of Records, Detlev is still active for the ILS Sport Commission and the ILS Anti-Doping Committee.

He founded a Lifesaving Club at the Baltic Sea, was a Senior Instructor for swimming, lifesaving and lifeguarding as well as a Tutor for Risk Assessment and Disaster Response.  Detlev held the position of Vice President of DLRG for 24 years and is a DLRG Honorary Member.

After holding the position of Secretary General for four years for the European branch of ILS, Detlev became President of ILSE and Vice President of ILS.  He is a Grand Knight in the Order of Lifesaving and became the 2022 Member of the ILS Lifesaving Hall of Fame.

Carol Fox

Carol Fox, Deputy President of Surf Life Saving Queensland, has played a pivotal role as one of the early trailblazers for women in sport and surf lifesaving in Australia.

As a Life Member of Lorne SLSC in Victoria, Carol has contributed significantly to various committee roles while showcasing her athletic prowess as a competitive swimmer, board, ski, and ironman participant. Her ground-breaking achievements include being Victoria’s first female beach lifeguard and earning the distinction of becoming the state’s first female medallist, securing an impressive third place in the men’s belt race in 1981

Beyond surf lifesaving, Carol has been involved in a range of impactful roles and achievements. She has held the position of President at Women in Sport Australia, served as the Ambassador for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, served as a Baton Bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, been recognised as one of AFR 100 Women of Influence, and is a Women in Sport Research Ambassador at Victoria University. Furthermore, she has mentored and facilitated the AFL She Can Coach Project while also serving as the Patron of the AFL Premiership Players Club.

Carol Fox’s remarkable journey stands as a testament to her unwavering passion, dedication, and ability to inspire others. Her achievements have not only propelled her own success but have also paved the way for countless women in the realm of sport and surf lifesaving


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