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Surf Sports in NSW is set for a shakeup following the release of Surf Life Saving NSW’s Surf Sports Re – Imagined – an inaugural surf sports strategy which will strive to position Surf Sports as NSW’s first choice coastal sport & recreational pursuit.

The strategy is a culmination of previously commissioned reviews which have been consolidated alongside member consultations and workshops lead by leading sport and entertainment consultancy, The Gemba Group.

Over the next three years, the strategy articulates a need to for sport to be repositioned within the movement as a strategic enabler for other surf life saving functions.

SLSNSW Director of Surf Sports, Don van Keimpema OAM said the strategy is a key component to ensuring Surf Life Saving’s prosperity moving forward.

“Sport is crucial to attracting new members and retaining existing members through both formal and informal physical activity,” he said.

“The strategy development process highlighted our competitive advantage – the beach – and acknowledges that we’re playing in a highly competitive sport and recreational marketplace, and we must adapt with consumer trends and innovations accordingly.”

Highlighted within the strategy is the need to look to technology to improve the participant end-to-end experience and reduce the burden on our administrators and officials.

“The introduction of LiveHeats and RFID technology has already made a huge difference to carnival experience,” van Keimpema added.

“We’re also investigating how we can use the platform to introduce divisional racing and leaderboard concepts.”

SLSNSW Surf Sport Manager, Jim Pinnington said Surf Sports Re – Imagined illustrates a need to challenge the traditional delivery of surf sport products and services.

‘Surf Sports needs to innovate quickly in an increasingly robust sport and active recreation marketplace,” he said.

“The call to action for clubs is to share best practice, collaborate, and work together outside of competition to ensure we develop the best products and services for members and non–members alike.”

“Our goal is that every single one of our 129 clubs along the NSW coastline is delivering industry-leading community sport products and services, with local nuance and character.”

SLSNSW President, George Shales OAM said growing surf sports participation through initiatives identified in Surf Sports Re – Imagined can only improve other key measurables.

“Attracting new members into Surf Life Saving through sport means more patrol hours, an increasingly diverse and inclusive membership, more rescue-ready personnel and a growth in commercial revenue to reinvest into our clubs and members,” he said.

Read the full strategy here. Image credit: Shane Myers.

Wednesday 7 December 2022