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Over the next three weekends, surf lifesavers will be going back to school to gain an understanding of the skills required to sweep a surfboat.

The Surf Boat Sweep Schools have been part of Surf Life Saving NSW’s surf sports calendar for more than five years with hundreds of surf lifesavers learning the trade.

Freshwater SLSC Life Member, surfboat rower, and author of ‘The Surfboat Book – a Complete Coaching Manual’, Kim Marsh is at the helm of the three Surf Boat Schools with the first to commence this Saturday 10 September at Maroubra SLSC for members based in Illawarra, South Coast and Sydney branches.

The two remaining schools take place at Collaroy and Coffs Harbour SLSCs on Saturday 17 and Saturday 24 September respectively.

Program attendees can look forward to learning a host of fundamental information, as well as tips to becoming a good sweep (such as balance and steering), surfboat safety and the particular skills needed in each stage of a surfboat race.

“A good sweep will have developed the many skills needed to safely control a surfboat and its crew in the surf. A good sweep does not necessarily have to be successful in competition. It is more difficult to sweep a novice, under powered crew than a champion open men’s crew,” Kim Marsh said ahead of tomorrow’s program.

“Sweeps need to have a basic understanding and feel for the surf and open sea. It is an advantage if the sweep has surf rowing experience, but this is not a barrier. There have been many good non-owing sweeps that have been assisted with their crews by external coaches and mentors.”

The experienced boatie believes that to be a good sweep you don’t necessarily need surf rowing experience, but having leadership qualities and the ability to interact with different personalities is non-negotiable.

“Winning gold medals can be fulfilling, but successfully handling challenging surf or catching a great wave is extremely uplifting. You do not have to be a champion to have this experience.”

Surf Life Saving NSW Sports Development Officer, Tim Piper says this is an amazing opportunity for up and coming surfboat sweeps to learn from a highly respected member of the sport.

“The sport of surfboats has grown considerably over the last few years thanks to programs like these and it’s great to see NSW athletes are enjoying success at major carnivals around the country,” Tim Piper said.

“Nominations are still open for the Collaroy and Coffs Harbour Sweep Schools so don’t miss this chance to learn from the best.”


Friday 9 September 2016