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Thousands of Australians are preparing to embark on the Gotcha4Life 24 Hour Row for mental fitness by keeping their rowing machines moving for 24 hours at surf clubs, gyms and schools. 

The annual event, now in its sixth year, has this year attracted more than 65 teams, including 37 surf clubs across Australia, to take part and will see locals, families, lifesavers, heroes, celebrities and politicians getting involved.

Kicking off at 12pm AEST on Saturday 9th Sept and finishes 12pm AEST Sunday 10th Sept on World Suicide Prevention Day, participants take turns for the entire 24-hour period to keep their team’s rowing machine running non-stop to raise funds for lifesaving mental fitness programs which support their communities.

The 24 Hour Row raises funds for mental fitness foundation Gotcha4Life. With a vision of zero-suicides, Gotcha4Life delivers empowering and educational mental fitness programs and workshops in communities.

The funds raised by teams in the 24 Hour Row will be turned around to provide each of the participating communities with programs catered to their needs and requirements.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO, Steve Pearce said that many surf club communities have been touched by suicide and the numbers supporting the cause show a desire to take action.

“Surf clubs are part of their communities and our volunteers love getting behind initiatives like the row that bring people together,” he said.

“Building the mental fitness of our own members is also very important and many surf clubs have experienced the life-changing programs offered by Gotcha4Life through the funds raised each year.

What makes the event so unique is that each of the locations is connected via Zoom and live streamed through Facebook, something that has united participants in the event over the last three years.

“Being able to watch all the teams rowing together across Australia is pretty special,” said Gotcha4Life Founder Gus Worland.

“We’re working together towards a common goal, we all want to end suicide and part of that is about helping people realise they don’t have to worry alone. No one is alone throughout the event, right through the night you can tune in and see everyone rowing their hearts out.”

The event this year aims to raise $400,000.

The 24 Hour Row was started in 2017 by Mel and Nathan Wellings at Avalon Beach SLSC after a number of tragic suicides in the area. Initially it was just one club wanting to make a difference but neighbouring clubs who also saw the suffering and need to support their communities soon jumped onboard. The word spread and given the event provides an easy and effective way to engage with people, it has grown exponentially since.

“We love this event because it brings so many communities together and shows solidarity and passion for a suicide-free Australia,” said founder Mel Wellings.

“We can’t believe what started as one club trying to make a difference locally has evolved to involve thousands of people and to think about the people it’s helped and the lives we’ve saved is huge.”

*World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally.


NSW starting 12pm – Avalon Beach SLSC, Barrenjoey High School, Bay Pavilions Gym, Bronte SLSC, Bulli SLSC, Cranbrook Boarders, Cronulla SLSC, Drummoyne Rowing Club, Elouera SLSC, Era SLSC, Kempsey Crescent Head SLSC, F45 Manly, Fort Street High School, Long Reef SLSC, MacMasters SLSC, Manly Warringah Leagues Club, Manly LSC, Maroubra Boaties, Mona Vale SLSC, MusselRowers Narooma SLSC, North Bondi SLSC, North Curl Curl SLSC, North Head Fitness, North Steyne SLSC, Norths Fitness Cammeray, Ocean Beach SLSC, Palm Beach SLSC, Pambula SLSC, South Curl Curl SLSC, South Maroubra SLSC, St Peters College Tuggerah, Stockton SLSC, Tathra SLSC, Umina SLSC,  Wanda SLSC

QLD starting 12pm – Mermaid Beach SLSC, BMD Northcliffe SLSC, LiveFit Yarrabilba, Sarina Beach SLSC

VIC starting 12pm – Jells Park PS, Mordialloc LSC, Port Melbourne S&LSC, Williamstown LSC

TAS starting 12pm – Penguin SLSC, SPC Senior Girls High School

SA starting 11:30am – Glenelg SLSC, Moana SLSC, Seacliff SLSC, Woodcock Rowing Team (St Peter’s College Adelaide)

WA starting 9.30am – Coogee Beach WA SLSC, Secret Harbour SLSC, Quinns Mindarie SLSC

Thursday 7 September 2023