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Rowers from all sides of Australia have clearly vented their frustration on the real issues taking a toll on our sport. We see every day the results of the ever present Barriers to joining and remaining in the sport of Surf Lifesaving. We also feel the effect of another cancelled Aussies.
The ASRL has just completed a nationally attended Forum where both issues were well debated. The attached letter is the result of this Forum and has now been sent to the Board of SLSA requesting their urgent attention and change.
Copies of the Full submission with the mentioned Probationary Bronze and Major Event Matrix can be found attached below (*pdf reader required):
ASRL SUBMISSION TO SLSA ON THE FUTURE OF SURFBOATS
We will post two different documents that sets out the current position.
The first document is the released Statement from the President of SLSA on the action decisions taken at the most recent SLSA Board meeting to remove the Barriers.
Message from the SLSA President
Highlights from SLSA Board Meeting with National Advisory Chairs – May 2017
At the SLSA Board meeting on 27 May 2017, working with the National Advisory Chairs, the following key initiatives are being progressed.
Transition from SRC to Bronze
Develop a clearer pathway for the transition of SRC to Bronze Medallion based on an ‘apprenticeship model’. This initiative will encourage retention of our SRC group without the necessity to complete a separate Bronze Course. 1
Develop an easier pathway for returning members based on specific skills training and the successful completion of proficiency rather than a blanket requirement to redo the Bronze Medallion Course.
IRB Crew award option in Bronze
Include the option for Bronze Medallion candidates to undertake the IRB Crew award during Bronze Medallion training. This will lead to an increase in the number of suitably qualified IRB crew for our frontline services and flow through to increased numbers of IRB Drivers.
Probationary Bronze Award
Rather than creating a new award use the existing Policy 1.02 “come and try” with a water proficiency requirement and agreed time to complete Bronze Training. It will not replace the normal pathway for Bronze Medallion and members who take this option will not be able to compete at any Championship events. The National Advisory Chairs will review and recommend a clear pathway for those wishing to take this option to encourage recruitment.
As a reminder the SLSA Policy 1.02 allows for non-qualified new members to ‘come and try’ surf sports activities.
Patrol exemption for Junior Activity Members (SRC)
The National Advisory Chairs will review and recommend the exemption from Patrol requirements for Junior Activities (SRC) to allow them to compete in surf sports as part of their transition to Open competition.
The National Advisory Chairs will review and recommend the delegation of the annual requalification process to Patrol Captains under the supervision of the Club Assessor.
The National Advisory Chairs will review and recommend the simplification of the current policy and guideline to give clarity to the membership.
Bronze Medallion curriculum review
Full review of Bronze Medallion to ensure the content being delivered is relevant to what is required of our frontline Surf Lifesavers.
The Chair of Sport and the National Sport Team are reviewing the Championships and investigating additional enhancements for the Aussies including the creation of a multi- disciplined Athlete Panel to help inform the decisions of the Safety Emergency Committee, open engagement with Team Managers in decisions. I thank all members who have provided positive feedback and support
Composite Teams in Surf Sport
The National Advisory Chairs will review and recommend the framework for composite teams to participate in Surf Sport.
The National Advisory Chairs and the associated Advisory and Management Committees will review all of the matters listed above except the Bronze Medallion curriculum review, which will take time to complete, and report back to the August 2017 SLSA Board meeting with their recommendations for endorsement.
The collective view of the SLSA Board and National Advisory Chairs is that these initiatives can be implemented prior to the commencement of next season and will have a significant impact on membership and removing the barriers to participation.
This second document is the current position the ASRL has been asked to take to SLSA to provide the Australian Championship Surfboat event of the future:
There has been no real or attempted move from the boat rowing body to walk away from SLSA or the Australian Championship concept. The mood is clearly one where members like the attachment they have to their surf clubs and wouldn’t want that to change.
Members also are attached to SLS in general and the issue of competition isn’t one of shifting away from patrol duty but a real desire to provide the best possible experience in attending the Australian Championship event.
As has been identified separately we see two distinct groups that want to be involved at Australian Championship time:
• The well trained competitor wishing to excel to the highest level
• The general participation competitor looking for an entirely different experience
Both have important places and for a voluntary sport should be catered for
The Key Issues:
A. Time of Year – a unanimous voice that the surfboat Aussies be completed no later than the end of March each year.
While the ASRL did support the SLSA a few year ago in shifting back later into April when on the Gold Coast, we instantly had the membership telling us it is too late for all involved in winter team sports
i. Some support for being in the same general location on the same weekend as the balance of the events but here we need to attach the proviso - IF & HOWEVER
ii. Specific location then comes into play, so for example if on the Gold Coast (GC) and history repeats, where are you going to send the boats as a backup beach?
iii. Locations like Coomera and Raby Bay have been totally rejected and another cancellation isn’t an option, so because we already know no suitable GC alternate exists, this dictates that your agreement with the Queensland Government agencies must allow you to identify a suitable beach or beaches in NSW as the alternate
iv. If you can’t guarantee an acceptable and functioning backup beach, then the only option has to be that boats are at a different time in an entirely different location, which may well be interstate or on a different part of the Qld coastline
v. Should the Australian Championship event be again shifted into other States then it is entirely possible that a range of beaches could solve the problem
vi. Perth inside of an 8 year rotation is too heavy a load
So the recommendation from A & B is:
• Selecting the initial location for a joined event is critical and must provide a fair racing beach for boats with an uncompromised workable backup location
• Failing SLSA ability to deliver on point one, then we request a completely different beach and time that can deliver backup
• A removed Aussie Boat section may in many ways assist the perceived overcrowding of a single general location as currently exists
C. Event Delivery
i. A strong call for the boat representatives to be heavily involved in the delivery program.
ii. Need to match people with specific skills to delivery rolls
iii. No one person can deliver such a big event and be across all the issues without the correct skill support
iv. The ASRL has developed a Major Event Matrix (as attached) which has all the tools to identify and manage the best people into the correct roles
So the recommendation on item C is:
• That the attached Major Event Matrix or a version of it be adopted for 2018 and beyond.
D. Surfboat Safety Committee
i. The ASRL has, over many events, clearly shown its responsibility and ability to deliver a good safe event to members by following a set of knowledge based guidelines.
ii. Possibly directly linked to the overall size of the event and the chosen location SLSA has had delivery problems. It is also possibly because of external pressure you have allowed the pendulum to swing too far across into the Risk Averse spectrum.
iii. The suggestions included within the Major Event Matrix are exactly those that have successfully delivered years of safely run ASRL events
iv. Consider for a minute that in competition man hours we run competition all around Australia completing at least 10 fold the amount of hours in every sort of condition every weekend of summer than the competition hours at Aussie and it is done pretty much without incident at least in the boat arena. We do this in boats by having a responsible Boat Panel working with a responsible Referee and group of Officials, knowledgeable Course Manager, Event Safety Officer and a Surf Hazard Rating System that we understand and trust. We do it by watching the conditions, knowing what our craft and competitors can and can’t handle. Most importantly we get it right because a big slab of the decision makers are actually out on the water experiencing the real effects of the prevailing conditions in real time
So the recommendation on item D is:
• That the attached Major Event Matrix including Safety Committee for Boats be adopted for 2018 and beyond
• A Centrally positioned overarching Event Safety Committee would still have a role but the key element and capability information would be managed by those with their feet in the water in each of the Areas