Darwin Surf Lifesaving Club (DSLSC) competes in local and national surf sports events in a number of different arenas including Surf boats, Boards and Ski's, IRBs, Beach and multi discipline sports.  We encourage all ages and levels to participate in training and competition. To compete you must obtain a Bronze medallion and fulfil yearly patrol hours.

Surf Boats

Surf Boat Rowing is an addictive team sport that will get your adrenaline pumping. Boat crews are made up for 4 rowers and one sweep who stands at the rear of the boat and steers. Their aim is to launch the heavy wooden boat out through the surf, row around the course cans and make it back to the beach as quickly as possible. It sounds easy enough, but large swell often sees boats capsizing, rolling over, back shooting and at times standing completely vertical before throwing the crew into the ocean.

Surf Boat Rowing is very much a team sport and the comradery shared between crew members branches out through the whole boat section. Darwin Boaties train together, host several social events throughout the year and compete at Surf Boat Competitions throughout the season.  Becoming a Boatie means adopting a lifestyle which is fun, social and exciting. If this sounds like you then join us today! No experience in rowing is necessary, just be ready to get in shape, meet some awesome people & enjoy the addictive sport of surf boat rowing.

Boaties need to be at least 16 years of age and hold a Bronze Medallion. If you would like to row but don’t have your Bronze we would love to hear from you! DSLSC offers Bronze Courses throughout the season so we can have you out and rowing in no time. We hold free come and try sessions most Fridays at the club from 5.30pm.


Boards and Ski’s

The board and surf ski events are two ‘craft’ surf life­sav­ing events. These involve pad­dling a fibre­glass board or ski from the beach, through the break and around a defined course and back to shore to cross the fin­ish line. Up to six­teen com­peti­tors or teams com­pete in a sin­gle heat, with sev­eral heats, semi-finals and finals con­ducted dur­ing a car­ni­val.

There are many vari­a­tions of board and ski events, includ­ing male or female, mixed, sin­gle or dou­ble and a mul­ti­tude of relays, out­lined below. You must be 16 years of age or older to com­pete in ski events but you can be any age to com­pete in board events.

Board Race
This is an indi­vid­ual event where com­peti­tors pad­dle a board around a course approx­i­mately 250m. Divi­sions include Men and Women in Open, U19, U17, U15 and Mas­ters categories.

Board Relay
This is a team event of three pad­dlers each com­plet­ing the board course of approx­i­mately 250m. Each team mem­ber in the first and sec­ond legs of the relay tags the next per­son in their team when return­ing to the beach. The third team mem­ber crosses the fin­ish line. Divi­sions include Men and Women in Open, U19, U17, U15 and Mas­ters categories.

Board Res­cue                                                                                                                                                    Each team has two mem­bers – one swim­mer and one board pad­dler. The swim­mer or ‘patient’ swims to a buoy where they raise their hand to sig­nal to their board pad­dler team mate to res­cue them. When the board pad­dler reaches their swim­mer the swim­mer climbs onto the board and both com­peti­tors pad­dle the board back to the beach. Divi­sions include Men and Women in Open, U19, U17, U15 and Mas­ters categories.

Ski Race
Indi­vid­ual com­peti­tors pad­dle a ski around a course of at least 300m from knee-deep water. Dou­ble ski com­peti­tors pad­dle approx­i­mately 50m fur­ther. Divi­sions for the sin­gle and dou­ble ski include Men's and Women's in Open, U19, U17 and Mas­ters. The dou­ble ski is also con­ducted as a mixed men and women event in the Open division.

Ski Relay
A team of three pad­dlers com­plete the ski course of at least 300m each. The first and sec­ond paddlers tag the next per­son in their team on return­ to the beach with the third person cross­ing the fin­ish line. Divi­sions for the ski relay include Open, U19 and Mas­ters. There is no dou­ble ski relay.


IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) competition aims to improve the skills and technique of IRB drivers and crew as well as allow crews to demonstrate their ability and techniques while performing rescues.

There are five events in IRB competition:

IRB Res­cue
Teams have one patient, one driver and one crew member. The patient is positioned on the seaward side of their buoy. The driver and crew member are on the beach side of the crew start/finish line, adjacent to their beach positions. On the starter’s signal the crew launches the IRB, continues through the surf to pick up the patient, rounds the buoy and returns to shore.

IRB Rescue – Tube Rescue
Teams have one patient, one driver, and one crew member. Patients are positioned at their patient buoys which are set approximately 25 metres 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 positions. On the starter’s signal crew launch their IRBs, continue through the surf and turn at their turning buoy. After the IRB rounds the turning buoy the crew member enters the water with the rescue tube and swims past the turning buoy to their patient. The crew member secures the rescue tube around the patient and tows the patient back to the IRB. Once the crew member contacts the IRB or driver they can board. The driver can assist the crew member and/or patient into the IRB. Patients may also assist themselves in boarding the IRB. After the patient is in the IRB the driver navigates around the team’s turning buoy and returns to shore to finish.

Mass Rescue                                                                                                                                                   Teams have one driver, one crew and two patients. Both patients are taken out to their buoy where one will wait on either side (sea side or shore side) of the buoy to be rescued. The crew proceeds out to sea, picks up their first patient and returns to shore. The driver and the patient must exit the IRB where the patient stays on the beach. The driver proceeds to the start/finish line, rounds their beach marker and returns to the IRB. The IRB is re-launched and the crew proceeds to rescue the second patient, returns to shore and on to the beach to the finish.

IRB Team Rescue
Teams have one patient and two crews (one driver and one crew member). The patient 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.
On the starter’s signal the first crew launches the IRB through the surf to the patient. 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 start/finish line to tag the second driver who runs to the IRB. The second crew launches the IRB through the surf to pick up the patient and the first crew member then rounds their buoy and returns to shore to the finish.

IRB Relay
This event is a continuous relay involving the four events above in the following order: Rescue Tube, Mass Rescue, Teams Rescue and Rescue. Each leg is as per the individual event descriptions except for change over between legs. The finish is at the completion of the Rescue (fourth) leg of the race.


Beach Sprints                                                                                                                                                   Sprints is an individual event where competitors sprint in lanes marked on flat, soft sand towards the finish line. The track is 70 metres for U8 – U14 and Masters and 90 metres for U15 – Open age.

Beach Relay                                                                                                                                                          Beach Relay teams of four run with a rubber hose as a baton. The baton is passed from member to member. The race is run on the same length course as the beach sprint, with the first team home with the baton the winner.

Beach Flags                                                                                                                                                            Flags competitors lie face down in the sand and on the whistle jump to their feet, turn and sprint before diving for a rubber baton (the ‘flag’) in the sand. There is one flag less the number of competitors so one person is eliminated each round, and the last per­son is the winner. The track length is 15m for U8-U14 and Masters, and 20m for U15-Open.

Multi Discipline

Taplin Relay
Relay teams of swimmers, board paddlers and ski paddlers compete on an Ironman course. The order of the legs is decided prior to the event.
The Taplin Relay event may be conducted in three person (one swimmer, one surf board and one surf ski paddler), six per­son (two competitors for each water leg), or four person (one competitor per water leg plus a beach sprinter to complete the race) variations.

Lifesaver Relay
Teams can be made of nine competitors including one surf boat crew, one swimmer, one surf board paddler, one surf ski paddler and one beach sprinter.
The event is conducted over a course of a surf boat, a surf ski, a board, a swim and a beach sprint. The surf boat leg is always the first leg and the beach sprint always finishes the race. The order of the other legs is drawn by ballot. Each leg follows a course from the beach out to sea, rounding buoys and returning to tag the next leg competitor.

Cameron Relay
Teams of four, a surf board paddler, surf swimmer and two runners com­pete in this relay. The order of the water legs are drawn by ballot. The first competitor enters the water, rounds the buoys and returns to shore where they tag the first runner. The first runner rounds turning flags and tags the next competitor who round the buoys and tags the last runner. The last runner runs to the finish line.

Surf Board Rescue Race
This two-person event has a surf swimmer and a surf board paddler. The race commences with the swimmer swimming to their allocated buoy and then signalling back to the beach for their board paddler to come out and collect them. Once the paddler reaches the swimmer, the two paddle their board back to beach to the finish line.

Surf Race                                                                                                                                                        Competitors sprint from the starting line on the beach into the surf to swim around a set of coloured buoys and return to shore. The finish line is between two flags set about 15m from the water.
Divisions for the surf race include Open, U19, U17, U15 and Masters. Race distance is 170m for U15-Open and 120m for Masters.

Ironman/Ironwoman                                                                                                                                               The Ironman/women race has a course consisting of a water leg (swim, surf ski or board), a run leg and another water leg finishing with a sprint to the line. The order of the water legs is decided prior to each carnival by random draw.


For those who would like to get involved but not compete, there are many other important roles available including officials, coaches and general hands for competitions. All training is provided by DSLSC and Surf Lifesaving Northern Territory.  Please contact darwinslsc@darwinsurfclub.com.au