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Surf Life Saving NSW has announced the establishment of five regional Surf Sport Academies which will seek to underpin future athlete and coach development in NSW in a first-of-its-kind program within the movement.

The Academies will be supported by the NSW Regional Academies of Sport (RASi) network, providing professionalised athlete services and coach development opportunities pertaining to strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, sports psychology, media skills, preparing for performance and injury prevention.

The new Academies will align with SLSNSW’s existing five regionally based Super Surf Teams and newly-created Surfboat Interseries Competition; the Northern Dolphins, Hunter/Central Coast Orcas, SNB Rays, Sydney Sharks and the Southern Penguins.

The alignment provides a clear athlete and coach pathway from Club & Branch representation through to Interstate team selection.

The academies will have an initial intake of 74 15- and 16-year-old athletes, with a new cohort of 46 athletes to come in over following season to grow the Academies to capacity.

“For the first time, SLSNSW is providing a structured pathway offering to emerging athletes and increasing its investment in Surf Sport athlete development tenfold,” SLSNSW Surf Sports Manager, Jim Pinnington said.

“The inception of the Performance Academies will provide unprecedented access and opportunity for aspiring athletes along the entire NSW coastline and prepare youth athletes for the elite demands of our sport.”

The Academies are reflective of the organisation’s commitment to the Surf Sports Re-imagined strategy released in late 2022, redefining the athlete pathway experience which was a key deliverable to emerge from the strategy.

“The inception of the academies reflects our commitment to develop and solidify our athlete pathway across all disciplines, and furthermore, it provides a framework to develop the number and quality of coaches in NSW,” SLSNSW Director, Don van Keimpema said.

In aligning the Academies with one of the state’s premier regional sports pathway developers, RASi, Group CEO, Brett O’Farrell believes SLSNSW is tapping into significant knowledge, skills and resources honed over more than three decades.

“The NSW Regional Academy of Sport has three main objectives, to talent identify regional athletes, to provide education and support to this talent and then to provide an opportunity to progress through the pathways,” he said.

“The talented young surf lifesavers in this state will now have our resources and expertise at their fingertips as a tool to enhance their training and outcomes in their chosen disciplines.”

Expressions of Interest for both athletes and coaches are open, with the initial intake of 74 athletes to be selected by the NSW Selection Panel ahead of an anticipated commencement date in late October 2023.

Thursday 28 September 2023