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There’ll be thrills, spills, and plenty of action in between when thousands of athletes go head-to-head at this year’s Queensland Championships.

However, what can often be lost amongst the excitement of racing is that each and every competitor lining up is a highly-trained surf lifesaver in their own right, with the skills and knowledge to protect beachgoers up and down the coast.

Initially developed to help members to stay fit and ‘rescue ready’ out of season, surf sports has since developed into a crucial avenue for practising and refining the core skills of surf lifesaving.

From beach sprints to surf swims and everything in between, all of the skills performed in the competitive arena are also on display when lifesavers and lifeguards patrol their local beach.

“Skills such as reading the surf, navigating rips, and getting out past the break as quickly as possible might help someone win gold at events like this but, more importantly, the exact same skillset could help save a life under different circumstances,” explains SLSQ sport manager Stuart Hogben.

And therein lies the key difference between surf lifesaving and other competitions across the country. Regardless of the event, athlete, or discipline, the underlying purpose of surf sport is to improve and refine lifesaving skills and ultimately, support Surf Life Saving’s vision of reducing drownings across Queensland.