The Gotcha4Life 24 Hour Row for mental fitness raised more than $290,000 in September after a record-breaking effort by 40 surf clubs and 12 gyms and schools across Australia.

With an average of 50 people at each location and more than 2,700 in total, teams rowed from midday Saturday 10 September right through the night until midday Sunday 11 September.

The event, first held in 2017 by Avalon Beach SLSC, is now in its fifth year and event founders, Mel and Nathan Wellings couldn’t be happier with the continuous growth and uptake by more clubs each year. 

“We never thought this is where we’d be when we ran the event five years ago and can’t thank everyone who took part this year enough,” said Mel. 

“To have over 50 teams involved this year to raise over a quarter of a million dollars is incredible and we’re pretty happy that all these communities, like ours, can benefit from the mental fitness programs and workshops that Gotcha4Life provides. We’ve had a number held at our club now and they do make a difference, they’re very powerful.”

The event not only raises funds for Gotch4Life, it is also the perfect opportunity for clubs to open their doors to their community, bring members back together after winter and unite all areas of their clubs. 

Participants, some as young as just two and as old as 80, took on the 24-hour period as a team. Whether they were rowing for 15 minutes or aiming to break personal physical records up to 100km, every distance and financial contribution played a part to make a difference. 

Together the rowers were passionate about taking action to help create future free of suicide.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO, Steve Pearce is a strong supporter and a participator. He visited a number of clubs and rowed twice across the weekend. He said it was amazing to see the event grow each year. 

“To see so many surf clubs, gyms and schools right throughout Australia and even people overseas rowing together, coming together to take action for a common cause and help their communities is wonderful,” he said. 

“I’m so proud that the organisation gets behind it each year and I really applaud everyone that’s taken part in this year’s event.”

Callan Nickerson and Stockton SLSC got involved for the first year and said, “We were keen to get involved, get the community around it and our members involved. We’ve got 35 rowers taking part to make sure we get some great services for the community.”

Peter Spence from Palm Beach SLSC who participated for the second year said it was a great way to bring the club together. 

“I think the camaraderie is great. It helps build culture and kicks off the season nicely, we’ve got new members and committee members part of it. We’re using it to bring everyone down, get to know each other and have a big breakfast in the morning. It helps build culture and is good to get behind the cause,” he said.

Kai Cooper from Mona Vale SLSC said it was the perfect way for surf clubs to come together ahead of the season. 

“It’s a great event, seeing everyone, whether its competitors, patrol members, a mum that brings her kids to nippers, they can all jump on and have a row and be part of a community initiative, it’s good,” he said. 

Gotcha4Life mental fitness programs and workshops will begin to become available to participating clubs in the coming months. Neighbouring clubs are also welcome to invite members and their communities to attend (see video below about the Tomorrow Man and Tomorrow Woman workshops delivered to Avalon Beach SLSC). Find out more about the programs here. 

2022 NSW Participating Clubs

North Coast: Coffs Harbour SLSC, Sawtell SLSC, Woolgoolga SLSC

Mid North Coast: Crescent Head SLSC, South West Rocks SLSC

Central Coast/Hunter: MacMasters SLSC, Wamberal SLSC, Stockton SLSC

Northern Beaches: Avalon Beach SLSC, Freshwater SLSC, Long Reef SLSC, Mona Vale SLSC, North Curl Curl SLSC, South Curl Curl SLSC, Palm Beach SLSC

Sydney: Coogee SLSC, Clovelly SLSC, Elouera SLSC, Era SLSC, Maroubra SLSC, North Cronulla SLSC, South Maroubra SLSC, Wanda SLSC

Illawarra: Port Kembla SLSC

South & Far South Coast: Kiama SLSC, Bermagui SLSC, Pambula SLSC, Tathra SLSC

Thursday 15 September 2022

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