There are few aspects of Australian culture that have been as distinctive in relation to other nations, as the relation to the beach (Daly, 2002).
Due to our geography, our habitable areas are predominantly coastal, and like AFL, the Sydney Opera House and kangaroos the beach helps to define our cultural identity. Australia has therefore provided the ideal setting to develop, nurture and flourish the sport of Surf Life Saving. Surf Life Saving’s suitability to Australian conditions has led it to become, not only a sport, but an important part of Australia’s history, lifestyle and culture (Wilson, 1979).
Although bathing and swimming in the ocean are now an integral part of our contemporary beach culture, this has not always been the case. In the conservative Victorian era of the 19 th century, sunbathing was actually prohibited by many local governments.
This was due to the pressure from moralists who considered it an ‘indecent pastime’ and for most of the nineteenth century surf bathing was a minority activity (Booth, 2000).
The middle classes’ and aristocracy’s obsession with health, believed in the therapeutic benefits of cold water bathing and the ‘Australian Star’ in 1907 recommended that the public acquaint itself with the bronzed specimens of manhood who spend their weekends at the beach. Motivation and stimulation to utilize the beach could come from such people as Duke Pao a Kahana moku, whose surfing prowess had become legendary. A champion gold medalist and record holding swimmer, the Duke, a tanned athletic all-rounder in the surf, epitomized the healthy individual the upper class aspired to be (Wilson, 1979).
The coastline is a major part of an Australian’s life. There is over 30,000km of coastline, and with 85% of people living within 50km of the coast, the management strategies of the coast is extremely important. This report will investigate Dee Why and Collaroy Beach’s coastal management and the subsequent consequences. Dee Why and Collaroy beach are part of the northern beaches, ...
To help close the rift between keen surf bathers and moralists, Surf bathers were portrayed by supporters as being national assets against the inevitability of war and they were compared as equals with their brothers in the outback as a race of fine healthy men, strong and tanned athletes that some day if needed would be well fitted to do duty for their country. (Booth, 2000).
By the end of the 19 th century surf bathing had become quite popular, however the number of drowning fatalities had increased and there was a genuine concern about public safety. Still, the local municipal councils were reluctant to do anything about beach safety due to the moral issue, in terms of bathing dress which they saw as indecent exposure of the body (Daly, 2002).
Surf bathers were aware that they needed an umbrella association to advocate the benefits of surf bathing, to counter moralists’ attacks, and to represent their interests. (Booth, 2000).
Cleverly, they overcame council resistance to their presence on the beach by volunteering their services (Booth, 2001).
The ideology adopted by the Surf Life Saving Association was of humanitarianism and athleticism. This was a deliberate strategy to justify its status on the beach in the face of opposition from middle class moralists repelled by public exposure of underdressed surf bathers. It was also a strategy to win over local councils who were unhappy with the increasing numbers of surf bathers encroaching on their peaceful surroundings (Booth, 2002).
The first surf clubs began forming in Sydney in 1906 and 1907 and later these clubs established the Surf Bathing Association of New South Wales (SBANSW), the forerunner of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia. The SBANSW defined itself as a humanitarian volunteer safety organization, not as a sporting organization and expressed the purpose of providing “better facilities for surf bathers, developing improved lifesaving methods and suggesting appropriate rules for the proper conduct of surf bathers” (Daly, 2002).
Surf Life Saving originated in Australia in the early 1900 s, when the growth of seaside towns and interest in swimming led to a number of drownings. Patrols were formed by local residents living close by beaches with strong currents, alerting people to the dangers of the surf. The Surf Life Saving Association of Great Britain (SLSA) was formed in 1955. Volunteer clubs patrolled beaches at Bude ...
It was from this that local councils began to recognize the benefits of the organization. The beginning of the formal organization of surf bathing had begun. In 1920 the organization changed its name to the Surf Life Saving Association of NSW to reinforce its primary humanitarian role and adopted the motto “Vigilance and Service.” In 1923 the NSW body became the national body – The Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSA).
It was at this time that the Surf Life Saver became the equivalent of the outback “man of the bush” as the exemplary Australian, which created a more appropriate image for predominantly coast dwelling Australians. (Daly, 2002).
Increasingly the Surf Life Saver appeared as symbolic of Australia.
Most aspects of the Surf Life Saver conformed to the traditional Australian type – the sun bronzed physique, the masculinity, the hedonism and wholesomeness of the beach. (Daly, 2002).
“By the 1930 s lifesavers were the lords of Australia’s beaches and icons of masculinity, discipline and humanitarianism” (Booth, 2001).
Surf Life Saving had begun with both a need for safety on beaches but also to advance the sport and pastime of surf bathing. A lot of the surf clubs attracted leading athletes and therefore also adopted the airs of sporting establishments (Booth, 2001).
To the utilitarian concept of public service, a competitive sporting element was added in order to develop, practice and hone the water skills of team members and regular inter club carnivals were held.
(Phillips et al, 2002).
These twin functions make Surf Life Saving a unique activity in the Australian context, however, create some tension over the primary function of the movement. From Surf Life Saving’s beginnings it has always been synonymous with teamwork. New members would instantly be assigned to a bronze medallion team when they walked through the clubhouse doors. Every patrolling member of a surf club was required to obtain Surf Life Saving’s bronze medallion (the measure of proficiency in rescue and resuscitation methods).
To achieve this, they had to run, swim and drill in teams (Jaggard, 1997).
The competition reinforced teamwork and mateship. The larrikin ism in Surf Life Saving’s male stereotype is one thread connecting him to the bushman or digger, and may well have contributed to his identification as a national type (Jaggard, 1997).
Are Things Equal Between The Sexes In Are Things Equal Between The Sexes In College Sports Are things equal between the sexes in college sports? "Monday night football won't be shown this week, instead women's field hockey will be aired.' Monday night football has been a long lasting American pastime and a change like this would tend to really shock and upset millions of dedicated football fans. ...
Surf Life Saving has predominantly been characterized by masculinity, mateship, and partying in addition to its puritan regulations, rigorous discipline and authoritarianism (Jaggard, 1997).
When the Duke visited Australia in 1915 after winning gold in the 1912 Olympics in swimming, there was much press attention and after his demonstration of surfing and its potential for rescues, the picture was painted that a surfer was an ‘ideal Aussie male’ (Daly, 2002).
At this time although women were experiencing more freedom in their outdoor activities, sport was still considered as a ‘mans game’, and competitive sport inappropriate for women, with most clubs excluding female members (Daly, 2002).
Excuses were used such that there were no female facilities and the fact they were not allowed to gain their bronze medallion they were not ‘real life savers’. Even when individual clubs began to relax their no-women rules, the men-only culture remained firmly in place (Booth, 2002).
In Australia, official SLSA policy banned women from rescue work and competition in 1914. They were prohibited from being examined for the bronze medallion as it was believed that women were not strong enough to perform rescue work or compete in competitions.
Women primarily served Surf Life Saving as purely domestic and decorative labour before their official admission as active members in 1980 (Booth, 2002).
There is, however, evidence from some club histories to suggest they still competed in intra and inter club competitions. (Jaggard, 1997).
Today we have almost come to terms with the full scale participation of women in the surf lifesaving movement. During the postwar years from 1945-1960 and still today there are 3 overlapping categories of Surf Life Saving club members. Firstly, there are those who closely adhere to the motto of ‘vigilance and service’ and take their patrols very seriously; then there are those who join for the competitions and for the sport and fitness side of things; and finally there are the beach lovers who are motivated by their love of the beach and see the surf club as a convenient place to shower and store their gear (Jaggard, 1997).
"The Joy Luck Club": A Review of the Novel by Amy Tan Amy Tan's novel "The Joy Luck Club" is outwardly the story of friendship, trials, and tribulations. The story serves a much greater function than simple entertainment, however. It also provides an opportune window into a particular time in history, a time in which the feminist movement was just beginning to gain momentum and a time in which the ...
Today another category could be added in those who join for the social side of things, to meet new people whilst ‘hanging out’ in a pleasant, healthy environment. During the 1950-60 s a specific set of economic, political and structural circumstances enabled the modern surf culture to flourish. Economic prosperity and the boom in consumer capitalism at the end of the Second World War produced a generation of over stimulated over consumers that were looking for continuous thrills and fun. Many surf clubs were built in this time and with the Californian beach culture flourishing in the Pacific rim Hollywood etc, this prompted a resurgence in the beach culture and greater membership for clubs.
Towards the end of the 1970 s new social forces began acting on Surf Life Saving. Recruiting was proving to have become difficult as young would-be Surf Life Savers saw no fun in marching and discipline. Women at this time were increasingly demanding equal rights, there was a technological advancement of equipment and athletes in clubs started to discover the commercial potential of their sports. This all helped change the face of Life Saving. The iron man event in today’s society is ranked up there with the likes of cricket and tennis as a summer Australian sport.
This is largely due to the formation of the super series by the international marketing and management company, IMG, and Uncle Toby’s. With increased exposure and television coverage, Surf Life Saving has begun to make a resurgence, and is a desirable sport to get into for many of the public. Throughout Australia, Surf Life Saving has undergone many changes and fluctuations in popularity over the years. What used to be a masculine volunteer organization has developed into a family affair, a broad based national community service organization, embracing and pioneering the latest technology and marketing. It has also become a recognized pacesetter in sports and leadership training for young individuals. (Jaggard, 2002).
Sports has become a very important part of every social being(Gerdy, 2002). The levels of involvement of people in sports has increased tremendously (Chak, 2003). Sports is defined as any activity that has specific rules that define how it is played and the main reason in engaging in such activities is to win (Gerdy, 2002). Sports has developed so much that sports organization have been forced to ...
By comparison to contemporary Surf Life Saving, in the interwar years and afterwards, there was little emphasis on individual achievement. Hence the rescue and resuscitation competition was the blue ribbon event (Jaggard, 1997).
Australian Surf Life Saving has now become tangled in the sponsorship web with deals arising from competition between rival breakfast cereal companies (Jaggard, 1997).
Today there has been an added component to the movement with the introduction of paid lifeguards indicating the acceptance the sport has gained over the years and the realization that most Australians do use the beach and that safety concerns need to be addressed. Even with increasing commercialization, Surf Life Saving still holds some iconic status. Today Surf Lifesaving can be defined as a sport or recreation set in a casual, uninhibited environment where men and women can mix freely.
Because of the many levels of participation offered in the sport, it attracts a wide variety of people of all different ages all with a passion for the outdoors, fitness and club environment. This provides an ideal setting for the beginnings of valuable friendships, experiences, and lifelong family associations with clubs. For author Jaggard; Surf Life Saving has been a conservative masculine institution that has undergone major transformations during the 1970 s and 1980 s but one that nevertheless has earned icon status and at time represented the “quintessential Australian.” (Phillips, 2002).