While every surf lifesaver has to master the skills of rescuing a person on one of the large Surf Rescue boards dotted around the beach, some members choose to take up the pursuit competitively. Surf skis have long been associated with Surf Lifesaving competition the skill and fitness gained from paddling is one of the best of any sporting endeavour.
Rescue board and surf ski races take a number of forms from the basic, where whoever is fastest out and back wins, to simulated rescues or relay races.
There is a close association between the members of the board and ski team at Terrigal. The sight of the entire Terrigal Board and Ski team embarking on their regular training sessions is very impressive. Most of the board and ski team train frequently, getting out on the water several times a week, usually in the afternoons and Saturday morning.
Swimming is logically associated with surf life saving although most rescues today are performed using a rescue board or the IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boats). The image of the swimmer with the belt and reel is an enduring one.
All active surf lifesavers have to pass a run-swim-run test each year in order to requalify for another season on the beach. The swimmers at Terrigal range from those training for national selection in the pool to the weekend social swimmer. Surf swimming requires use of techniques not found in a pool environment. You don’t encounter crashing waves, rips and depth of water in the pool and rarely do you get other swimmers swimming over the top of you.
The surf swimming is contested as part of the inter-club carnivals, right up to the national titles. Swimmers are also key members of multi-disciplinary events such as the Taplin relay.