Surf Life Saving Australia has explained its decision to cut some water events from its program for this year’s Australian Championships at Coolangatta.
CEO Melissa King said today “the SLSA appreciates there is widespread disappointment amongst our competitors and clubs following the decision to cancel our remaining water based events at this year’s Australian Championships and it is a disappointment which is shared by SLSA volunteers and staff”.
“Unfortunately these Championships have been marred by extreme weather conditions including high winds and polluted waterways, however our aim has always been to run as many events as possible.
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“We successfully conducted two days of Youth Competition, two days of Masters Competition and sixty percent of the Open schedule, with Gold Coast club Northcliffe taking out their 14th National Pointscore from Currumbin and Alexandra Headlands.
“The decision to cancel water based events was not taken lightly. The conditions and the information provided by external agencies alongside our own risk assessment exceeded our risk tolerances.
“Water quality, water visibility, debris and the potential for increased marine activity were all considered in making the decision. A decision made to put the health and wellbeing of our members first.
“We are thankful for the information and advice from agencies such as State Emergency Services, Surf Life Saving Queensland, Queensland Water Police, the Disaster Management Centre of City of Gold Coast, Council Lifeguards and Scientific Services Laboratory.
“At the end of the day the decision was ours and SLSA stands by that decision and we will continue to put the safety and wellbeing of our members first.”
The Carnival’s Independent Risk Assessor Paul Chivers said: “Should SLSA have proceeded with their water based competition, having known the induced risks presented, it would have been considered reckless in its duty.