With the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships nearing completion, I wanted to warmly congratulate all the athletes, officials and managers on what has been a memorable two weeks. To the Events Team, the Surf Life Saving SA staff and the army of volunteers who built, and then rebuilt these championships, I can’t thank you enough. You should be very proud of what you have delivered and how you have showcased Surf Life Saving SA to the world.
With over 7,000 participants from 45 nations, LWC Adelaide 2018 is the largest Lifesaving World Championships ever conducted. Adelaide also saw a number of firsts for the International Lifesaving Federation. It was the first time the event has returned to the same city for a second time. It was the first time a state association has successfully bid for, and run a World Championships (until now it has always been a national body). Other highlights included the running of the first National Youth Teams and the first National IRB Teams racing. We saw the largest number of technical officials attend, which may have something to do with the popularity of our wine, food and tourism.
We also hosted the first Nipper carnival as part of a Lifesaving World Championships Event Calendar, which saw over 800 local Nippers showing the world how healthy lifesaving is in South Australia. Many visiting nations have now reached out to learn more about how they can develop similar programs. Our kids did us proud.
There were 35 world records broken at the pool. Australia took out honours in the Open National Teams competition, beating traditional rivals New Zealand, but NZ had our measure in the National Youth Teams and IRB’s. The BMD Northcliffe Surf Lifesaving Club from Australia won the overall clubs open point score and Moroochydore Surf Life Saving Club took out the Youth Inter-club Championship.
These championships are one of the largest sporting events held in Adelaide and will deliver an estimated $20 million to economic benefit to the state. We have already had preliminary discussions with the ILS about the potential to host future events. South Australia is renowned for hosting world class events and LWC2018 has taken its place on the global stage, setting the standard for future Lifesaving World Championships.
The profile of lifesaving in South Australia has been significantly lifted through unprecedented media coverage. Event media reached in excess of 7million people in Australia and a live broadcast audience reaching 50,000 viewers around the world.
The lifesaving community is truly unique. When we were hit with that major weather event in the first week, volunteers from all over the world were on the beach at first light to help clean up. So effective was the mobilisation, we were able to restore of the infrastructure and get back to competition within 24hours. As one lifesaver said to me when I thanked them, “that’s just what we do”.
We also socialise very well too. The sense of a global family, collaboration and friendliness go hand in hand the world over in lifesaving. The “Champs Hub” has been alive with new friends getting to know each other sharing their love for lifesaving. It is with some sadness that we say goodbye for now to our visitors. We have loved getting to know you and hope to see you all in Italy at LWC2020 and hopefully back in Adelaide again soon.
As Chairman of LWC2018, I want to warmly thank again the entire team who made this great spectacle possible. The international lifesaving community has been high in their praise of your performance and you should hold your heads high.
In closing I want to acknowledge our event partners, the International Lifesaving Federation, the Government of South Australia, Channel 7, Holden and the City of Holdfast Bay.
Wherever you call home, I wish you a safe and successful 2019.
We are an amazing global movement and the importance of what we do in keeping people safe must be widely promoted and recognised.
Yours in surf life saving,
John Baker ESM