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Australian Surf Rowers League Inc

   An introduction to the ASRL Inc 

ASRL IncThe ‘League’ was born in New South Wales circa 1992 as the International League of Australian Surfboat Rowers Inc. (ILOR) and was headed by Zacca Watts, Zom Knox and Matt Clymer.  Loosely it was the New South Wales League. 
 
In 1993, the ‘League’ was approached to compete in the Uncle Toby’s series alongside the Ironmen.  The Ironmen had been sanctioned by SLSA to compete in the series, remembering that SLSA was sponsored by Kellogg.

SLSA refused to sanction the inclusion of surfboats in Uncle Toby’s.

A committed group of boaties met with SLSA officials at Manly clubhouse on September 10th 1993 in an attempt to resolve the impasse.  At the same time, season 1994, Tooheys Red was sponsoring a 20-event series. SLSA advised the meeting that it had a contract for live television for the entire 20 events.  When asked to produce the contract it could not do so.

ASRL IncThe League advised SLSA that if it produced a signed contract within seven days,  surfboats would not compete in the Uncle Toby’s series.

SLSA failed to produce the contract. 

The first Uncle Toby’s event in 1993 was held at Surfers Paradise and twenty four crews, mainly from Queensland, but some interstaters including Point Lonsdale and Manly also competed.  Following that first event, the crews which competed in event two stayed with the series for the entire four years. 

The members of those crews which competed at Surfers Paradise were cited to appear before an SLSA disciplinary committee in Brisbane charged with ‘conduct unbecoming’.  The charges were dismissed.  

Other court action followed in the Federal Court in New South Wales when an Uncle Tobys crew was prevented from rowing in a NSW Premiership event.  The case was upheld and costs awarded against SLSA NSW. 

ASRL IncThe Uncle Toby’s crews continued to race that year against intimidation and threats by SLSA.  State officials were detailed to attend Uncle Toby’s events and take the names of crews and rowers competing. 

The crews competed in the Uncle Toby’s series for four seasons with twelve of the thirteen semi-finalists at Kurrawa 1995 being Uncle Toby’s crews.  

The inaugural President was Ron Payne 1994-1995, followed by Ron Kelly (1996-1997), Peter ‘Grub’ Grant (1998-2001); Rick Millar (2002-2005); Bob Stone (2006) and Bert Hunt (2007-     ) 

Greg Davies was Secretary from 1993 to 2008.  

Vice Presidents have included, Matt Clymer, Zom Knox (1993-2007),  Stephen Blewett (1993-2005, 2007-      ), Charles Melloy, Don Cotterill, Dick Olesinski, Andrew Goss, and recently Tim Nesbitt and Geoff Matthews. 

At a Special General General Meeting held at Mosman on 20 July, 1997, at the instigation of President Peter ‘Grub’ Grant the name of the League was changed to Australian Surf Rowers League (ASRL) and it has remained.

The League conducted its first Open in 1997 at Terrigal followed by:

1998     Dee Why
1999     Ocean Beach
2000     Ocean Grove
2001     Fingal Bay
2002     Scarboro
2003     Lorne
2004     South Port
2005     Wollongong
2006     Bilgola/Newport
2007     Lorne
2008     Stockton
2009     Broulee

The first Interstate Challenge was held at South Port and is the only event on the calendar where surfboat competition alone decides the best surfboat State in Australia.  All racing divisions are included in the Interstate Championship with the ‘Fillies’ being included for the first time in 2007 at Lorne.

Victoria won at the Interstate Championship at South Port and New South Wales has won each year since.

Click HERE to read all about the history of Surf Boats in Australia 
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Guest Sunday, 23 July 2017

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