The next Shannon Eckstein or Courtney Hancock could be unearthed this week thanks to an exciting and innovative competition being rolled out by Surf Life Saving Queensland and The University of Queensland.
The two organisations have partnered to deliver the UQ Secondary School Surf League, with the championship event to be held this Thursday at North Burleigh on the Gold Coast.
The UQ Secondary Surf School League allows high-school children from all over the state to learn and hone new skills, while challenging themselves and testing their abilities against the surf and other youngsters their age.
Roughly 150 students will hit the beach to compete across a range of events including swimming, beach sprints and board paddling, with the winning school awarded the inaugural UQ Cup.
The championship event seeks to expand and build upon the successful Surf League competition which has operated in regional locations across the state for the past ten years.
SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan OAM said the event was a great way to engage with school-aged children from across the state.
“We’re really proud and pleased to be partnering with The University of Queensland to roll out this competition,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for school children while, at the same time, creating a pathway for them to get involved in the surf lifesaving movement in the years to come,” he said.
UQ Faculty of Business, Economics and Law Executive Dean Professor Iain Watson will present the UQ Cup to the winners.
Professor Watson said the program introduced high school students to surf sports in a fun and safe environment.
“When we began our partnership with Surf Life Saving Queensland last year we knew it would open up many opportunities to improve beach safety education and allow more people to enjoy Queensland’s wonderful beaches,” he said.
“This program is a great example of the success of the partnership so far, and we look forward to continuing this relationship with SLSQ to create positive change for Queenslanders.”
The competition kicks off an action-packed fortnight of surf sport on the Gold Coast, with the Queensland Youth Surf Life Saving Championships beginning on Friday and running across the weekend (March 11-13), followed by the Senior Championships next weekend (March 18-20).