March Past and R&R

Introduction to R&R Events

The Rescue & Resuscitation (R&R) competition provides the opportunity for SLSA members to demonstrate in a competitive manner some Rescue and Resuscitation methods.

The rules and regulations of the R&R event are encompassed within the Rescue & Resuscitation Competition Manual and subsequent bulletins.

R&R is a competition based on the simulated rescue and resuscitation of a patient from the surf using the traditional belt and reel. It combines swimming, resuscitation skills, marching and drill with teams judged against set criteria.

There are three different forms of the event

  • 2 person (mixed sexes U10 – U13 )
  • 5 person (mixed for ages U12 – U14

Competitors are required to perform different roles depending on their position within the team.

History of R&R

From the beginning of the surf lifesaving movement until the mid-1980s, the R&R drill formed the basis of the bronze medallion assessment. All would-be bronze medallion holders were required to show proficiency in each of the positions in the 6-person drill.

While no longer part of the bronze medallion assessment, R&R competition has continued to be held at surf carnivals throughout Australia. It is one of only two events that have been held at every Australian Surf Championships since their inception – the other being the surf race.

Originally the only event available was the 6 person, with each competitor’s position in the team determined by a ballot. This meant each of the team members needed to be a strong swimmer in order to be able to swim in the belt. The vast majority of surf race and belt race champions from the past were also members of club R&R teams.

Nowadays the requirement to draw for positions is somewhat limited. Competitors in the 2 person event draw for their positions (patient & rescuer) as do those in the 6 person event (belt swimmer & rescue tube swimmer in one draw and reel operator, 1st linesperson/cardiac compressions and 2nd linesperson/rescue breaths in another). Competitors in the 5 person events as well as the patient in the 6 people are in pre-determined positions.

Though the belt and reel are no longer used in modern lifesaving, the R&R event has continued to be a popular team sport. The two-person event is particularly popular with the younger competitors. As the resuscitation element of the event essentially reflects the technique required for both the Surf Rescue Certificate and Bronze Medallion awards, participants are able to transfer the skills they learn from the event to their training for each of these awards.


For the 2018-2019 season, the club will be endeavoring to field teams in most of the events available.

Introduction to March Past

The March Past is literally the ‘flagship’ event of any surf carnival and one of the most traditional events that still exists today. It is a largely ceremonial event, strict on team uniformity and scored on absolute military precision.

Each club is encouraged to present a march past team of twelve (12) at major carnivals. The team marches onto the competition arena proudly flying the club standard (flag) and carrying a traditional belt line and reel, maintaining formation and moving in timely march. It is a very proud occasion for any club to witness their team representing the club at a major championship event, and an even prouder feeling to be able to fill part of that team.