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There’s just two weeks to go until the 2021 24 Hour Row for Mental Fitness supporting Gotcha4LifeOver 2,000 surf club members and rowers Australia-wide are taking part in this year’s event that was postponed from August.

In a year where the focus on mental fitness is more important than ever, event organisers are excited to see the enthusiasm from so many clubs to participate and help raise money for such an important cause.

After the success of the Avalon Beach 24 Hour Row over the past three years, the event has expanded in 2021 despite the pandemic and extended lockdowns. Over 40 locations from Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australian Surf Life Saving Clubs and gyms have registered for the event that kicks off at midday (AEDST) Saturday 30 October and runs until midday Sunday 31 October.

Rowing machines will be set up at each location and participants will take turns rowing for up to one hour each, keeping the machines going for the full 24 hour period. Some of Australia’s top athletes including Olympic rower Georgie Rowe are signed up to take part alongside well known figures such as Paul Gallen and Hugh Jackman, and participants who have never been on a rowing machine in their lives.

Together they will work through the mental and physical challenge of rowing and will raise funds for Gotcha4Life which delivers programs to help improve the mental fitness of all Australians with the goal of bringing suicide rates to zero.

The event is the brainchild of one of the country’s top surf boat coaches Nathan Wellings from Avalon Beach SLSC and his wife Mel who started the event in 2018 after a tragic spate of youth suicides in the Northern Beaches area.

“After such a tough year we’re so happy that the 24 Hour Row is able to go ahead and can’t believe how many additional clubs are locked in to participate this year,” said 24 Hour Row founder Mel Wellings.

“Mental fitness and the awareness of how to help friends and family is so important and we’re glad that our little event is now able to help save lives nation-wide,” she said.

“Our local community was struggling to come to terms with the loss of a number of our young people in 2018 and our team of surf boat rowers wanted to do something positive to help. We set up a couple of rowing machines at the club and rostered everyone to row for an hour each, over 24 hours.

“It was such a great event, with great support from all the community, not just our club members. We even had the local MP Rob Stokes jump on a machine and row for an hour with us. He didn’t do too bad a time either,” said Mel Wellings.

This year the event has expanded again to include five Western Australian clubs for the first time. “We expect there to be some healthy rivalry between clubs and states this year in both the fundraising side and the total distances that each can row in the 24-hour period,” said Mel.

All locations will be connected via Zoom and a livestream will be broadcast on the 24 Hour Row Facebook page for everyone to watch and support and hopefully to donate.

The beneficiary charity, Gotcha4Life takes action by delivering mental fitness programs that engage, educate and empower local communities. They focus on early intervention and the power of prevention through connection.

Surf Life Saving NSW continues its support of the expanded event assisting with promoting the event through their alliance with Gotcha4Life.

“We love the 24 Hour Row, now in its fourth year,” said Gus Worland, Gotcha4Life’s Founder. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together, raise funds to build mental fitness and have fun along the way! Our programs are needed now more than ever, and funds raised will allow us to work with individuals and communities to reduce instances of poor mental health and build stronger connections.” Worland said.

Every $40 raised allows a participant to take part in a life saving Gotcha4Life mental fitness workshop. The ripple effect of that one person being connected and supported could mean many more lives are saved.

The event is hoping to raise $200,000 over the 24 hour period.


START: 12 Noon, Saturday 30 October 2021 (AEDST)
FINISH: 12 Noon, Sunday 31 October 2021 (AEDST)

Each club will have one or more rowing machines set up at their own location. Each location will follow their state’s health/ COVID-19 guidelines based on restrictions at the time of event.

GOAL: To raise funds and awareness for mental fitness charity Gotcha4Life by keeping people connected by encouraging them to train for both an individual and team goal, through a mental and physical challenge – row for one hour and keep your club’s machine moving for a full 24 Hour period.

WATCH LIVE: Each location will be linked through Zoom and the Zoom will be broadcast live through Facebook via for the 24 hour period of the row with interviews and live distance updates to keep the rivalry and energy up and encourage donations.

PARTICIPATING SURF LIFE SAVING CLUBS & ORGANISATIONSClick here for the full list of participating clubs, locations and donation page links

Wednesday 20 October 2021