Surf Life Saving’s premier event “The Aussies” will return to the Sunshine Coast in 2021 for the fourth time in the long history of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.
Jointly hosted across Alexandra Headland, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba Clubs, the nine-day carnival return’s just five years after the enormous success that saw the 2016 Championships top all expectations.
The 2016 event attracted over 7000 competitors and organisers are confident that 2021 will be even bigger.
In 2016 we saw the incomparable Shannon Eckstein take out his record eighth Australian ironman title, with Grant Kenny on the water’s edge to congratulate him with a high five. Earlier in the carnival Kenny and the legendary Trevor Hendy celebrated the occasion when they crossed the finish line arm-in-arm in an open ironman heat – – such is the camaraderie amongst Australian lifesavers.
Surf Life Saving Australia President Graham Ford AM said the decision to return to the Sunshine Coast was met with enthusiasm across the board.
“We all have wonderful memories of 2016, some of 1980 and a few from 1959 and to again welcome the Sunshine Coast as the venue for the 2021 Aussies is very exciting,” said Mr Ford.
“Surf lifesaving continues to thrive on the Sunshine Coast – a region that is home to many of our greatest champions, passionate lifesavers and even greater Australians created in a community that prides itself in achieving great things.
“Some of the best Aussies moments have nothing to do with medals. Every athlete, official and volunteer walked away with their own special memory of 2016. That in itself makes me extremely proud and I know from ‘the clubbies’ I have spoken to from all around Australia we can’t wait to come back here again.
“We have wonderful partners in Tourism and Events Queensland, Sunshine Coast Council, and our host Surf Life Saving Clubs.
“Sunshine Coast certainly turned on a carnival to remember in 2016 and I’m sure that 2021 will be even better. Our strong relationship sets a solid foundation for future opportunities post 2021”
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said she welcomed the news, with the 2016 championships proving to be a resounding success.
“Last year’s event generated nearly 100,000 visitor nights in Queensland, with many people visiting from interstate, with an overall economic impact of more than $20m,” Ms Jones said.
“We are committed to supporting major events like this through Tourism and Events Queensland which drive visitation, provide local economic benefits, support local jobs and foster community pride.”
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast is one of the real homes of surf lifesaving.
“Our clubs date back more than 100 years and we’re delighted to have the national championships back on our beaches in 2021,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The 2016 Aussies were a great success and the competitors who took part told us how much that they enjoyed racing at Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland and Mooloolaba.
“Not only do these beaches provide a premium stage for the competition, they’re also home to three of our country’s premier surf lifesaving clubs, with a strong history of success and participation in the Aussies.
“Our thanks go to everyone involved with Surf Life Saving Australia and the host clubs for all of the work that has been done to return the Aussies to the Sunshine Coast so we can witness the sport’s finest in action and experience that special camaraderie of the national titles.”
The 2021 Aussies will again start with the Youth Championships, followed by the Masters and the Open Competition.
It will feature many established stars and Olympians, so many like Kenny, Clint Robinson, Alyssa Bull, Alyce Burnett who have adorned sport’s biggest international stage.
And among the faces who are sure to feature over the next four years will be Alexandra Headlands pair Jett Kenny – a ski paddling prodigy of father Grant – and swimming wonder-kid Lani Pallister – daughter of Olympian Janelle Elford and former surf swimmer, ironman and triathlete Rick Pallister.