Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), organisers of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, are moving the competition to a new venue after three competitors drowned at Queensland’s Kurrawa beach.
Fourteen-year-old Matthew Barclay last month became the third competitor to be killed at the beach, following the drowning death of 19-year-old lifesaver Saxon Bird two year earlier after being hit by a stray surf ski, and 15-year-old Robert Gatenby, who drowned at during the 1996 championships.
The CEO of Surf Life Saving Australia, Brett Williamson, said the change of location was necessary, and will formally advise Events Queensland and the Gold Coast City Council of its intention to move the 2013 championships from Kurrawa.
“We are taking this action to relocate the 2013 Australian Championships from Kurrawa out of respect for Robert Gatenby, Saxon Bird and Matthew Barclay and their families. The emotional wellbeing of our members, athletes, officials, volunteers and event staff who have all been greatly affected by these tragic accidents is also vital.
“Surf Life Saving Australia will also be fast tracking the ‘top to bottom’ review of the event which was initiated last year to review the size, duration, types of events, age groups and welfare issues.” said Mr Williamson.
A new primary host venue will be announced in coming months after an assessment of the options and discussions with Events Queensland and the council.