Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Cancellation Of TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships A “Heart-breaking” But Necessary Decision

Last night, Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) made the “heart-breaking” decision to cancel the 2021 TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships (TSB Nationals) due to COVID-19 Alert Level uncertainty. The event was set to take place at Ōhope Beach in the Bay of Plenty from March 11-14 but can’t be run to the necessary standard if any part of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2 next week.

This is the third major Surf Lifesaving sports event to be impacted by COVID-19 Alert Level changes, with the Northern Region Championships being cancelled on 20th February and last weekend’s Oceans ’21 national Junior Surf competition being cut short following the Government’s Covid-19 Alert Level announcement on Saturday night.

TSB Nationals represents the pinnacle event of the Surf Lifesaving Sport season, with more than 1,500 Surf Lifeguards from around the country competing in events designed to test core Surf Lifesaving Skills. Many of these athletes have trained for months in anticipation of the event and the disappointment is palpable.

“This is such an important event within Surf Lifesaving – we get competitors as young as 14, right up to Masters who have lost track of the number of TSB Nationals they’ve attended,” says Wellington-based SLSNZ Chief Executive and active Surf Lifeguard, Paul Dalton.

“The decision on whether or not to cancel this event was incredibly difficult, but in the end we had to put the safety of our Surf Lifesaving community members – and the wider community – first.”

Dalton says advice provided by the government’s COVID-19 Response Team indicated that an early announcement of any changes in Alert Levels after Saturday 6th March would not occur, meaning SLSNZ had to make its decision before the Government announcement later in the week in order to give certainty to its membership and give them the best chance of recovering refunds for travel and accommodation.

“Our best guess is that Auckland will still be at Alert Level 2 for all of next week.”

If that is the case, SLSNZ would be forced to exclude Auckland-based competitors, supporters and event support personnel from the event, as Alert Level 2 does not allow for them to take part in mass gatherings of more than 100 people.

“If Aucklanders were to be excluded, it would no longer be a true ‘national championships’ and there would be significant operational capacity and capability issues that would impact the safety and effectiveness of delivering an alternative event, many of which could not be mitigated, especially at short notice. For instance, half of our Water Safety personnel and 90% of our First Aid personnel would have been unable to attend – not to mention many of the event organisation team and more than a quarter of competitors.”

Dalton says that, as an organisation primarily focussed on safety and wellbeing, SLSNZ also needed to consider the wider public good as well as their own goals. “With people coming from all over the county it would be an ideal ‘super-spreader’ event if anyone attending did turn out to be infected”.

“We acknowledge that by making an announcement now, the opportunity to hold the event is being lost. However, SLSNZ considers an early announcement, based on the known information, is the best approach as it provides certainty (albeit some disappointment) for clubs, and it reduces the level of financial loss for athletes and clubs, as well as ensures we do not run a smaller scale alternative event that is below our normal standards and does not provide a great experience to the attendees.”

The 2022 TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships are set to be held in Christchurch from March 10-13, 2022.


SLSNZ is the national association representing 74 surf lifesaving clubs with 18,000+ members, including more than 4,500 volunteer Surf Lifeguards. Our lifeguards patrol over 90 locations each summer and provide emergency call-out rescue services throughout Aotearoa, saving hundreds of lives each year and ensuring thousands return home safe after a day at the beach.

We do all this as a charity and rely on the generosity of the public, commercial partners, foundations and trusts for donations and financial contributions in order to lead and support our incredible front-line volunteer lifeguarding services.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland