High Performance Competitions

New Zealand Teams compete in a range of International Competitions around the World and prove ourselves as leaders in sport.  Below are six key events Surf Life Saving regularly compete at, from our Surf Boat "Oar Blacks" to our inspiring "Junior Black Fins" to the mighty ''Black Fins'' and Black Props.


World Lifesaving Championships

The ILS World Life Saving Championships are the world championships for lifesaving sport events. They are sanctioned by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS), conducted every 2 years, and commonly marketed and known as the ‘Rescue’ series, for example – Rescue 2008.

The World Life Saving Championships incorporate - National Teams World Championships, Interclub Teams World Championships, Masters World Championships, Surfboats World Championships and IRB World Championships. Additional championships can include additional events such as March Past, Long distance Race. The World Championships typically attract between 3,000 and 5,000 competitors and officials, and are conducted over a period of 12 to 14 days.

Prior to the amalgamation of WLS and FIS in 1993 to create ILS, both WLS and FIS conducted World Championship events in Life Saving Sports. Founded in 1971 WLS conducted ocean and beach based world championships for National Teams in South Africa in 1974 and Interclub World Championships in 1981 and 1983. The 1988, 1990, and 1992 Rescue series of World Championship events were also organised by WLS. Rescue 88, the 1988 World Championships were the first international championships to conduct both ocean and pool events.

In 1956 prior to the advent of WLS, as part of the 1956 Olympic Games celebrations Surf Life Saving Australia (a founding member of WLS) hosted an International Lifesaving Championships at Torquay Beach in which teams from several countries competed against each other. It could be argued that this was the first World Lifesaving Championships for ocean and beach events.

Founded in 1910, member nations of FIS agreed to conduct World Championships in pool life saving events. The first such championships were conducted in Paris, France in 1955 and were held sporadically over the next 40 years until the final FIS Championships in 1995. These contests were strictly for national representative teams only. Since 1996, World Life Saving Championships have been conducted solely by ILS every two years.  Follow our teams at the next World Champs here...

New Zealand Teams



International Surf Rescue Challenge

The International Surf Rescue Challenge (ISRC) started as the Trans-Tasman Challenge, a traditional surf lifesaving competition between Australia and New Zealand that was first commenced in 1937. In 1999 South Africa was invited to compete and the Tri Nations Challenge was born.

In 2005 the Challenge was opened up to other nations and the then event was called the International Surf Rescue Challenge – however the former competitions i.e. Trans-Tasman Challenge, Tri Nations Challenge are still held. Traditional trophies are awarded to the winning team.  Follow our teams at the ISRC Competition here...

New Zealand Teams



Sanyo International Lifesaving Cup

Sanyo Bussan International Lifesaving Cup is the only international event among all lifesaving competitions held in Japan. This event has grown into a major competition and continuously attracts top lifesavers from all over the world. It was first held in Chiba, followed by Kanagawa, Wakayama, Aichi, and Miyazaki, and has taken place in Fukuoka since 2017. Over these years Japan Lifesaving Association have worked to spread knowledge and understanding of lifesaving through out the places they held the event. 

This event is a Beach and Ocean based event, held over two days of competition where teams compete in the same events each day and accumulate points to find a overall winner.  Follow our team at the next Sanyo Cup here...

New Zealand Teams


Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge

The purpose of the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge is to have the best New Zealand and Australian surf boat crews in Open Men’s and Women’s age category compete in National Team colours.

Crews will compete for the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge Trophy and continue SLSNZ’s and SLSA’s long established history, traditions and rivalry in surf boat racing. The competition is to Support and enhance the health of surf boat racing in both NZ and Australia. Increased opportunities to race at international level for boat rowers from both countries is likely to have a positive impact on the development of surf boat rowing domestically including attracting more rowers to the sport, retaining existing rowers/sweeps, and providing clubs with ongoing supply of surf lifeguards. It is key that we maintain a high performance international pathway for surf boat crews in NZ and Australia.  Follow our crews at the next Trans-Tasman Challenge here...

New Zealand Teams


Orange & German Cups

The Orange and German Cups are Pool Rescue competitions held by the Netherlands and Germany that are both their National Championships and International Teams Competition.

New Zealand Teams


World Games

The International World Games Association (IWGA) organises the World Games every four years, one year after the Summer Olympic Games.

The World Games are often called the “Olympic” Games for the non-Olympic Sports and were first held in Santa Clara (USA) in 1981. The Games are a Multi-Sport Event where over 30 Sports are organised during a period of 14 Days. Lifesaving Sports (both pool and beach-surf) are on the programme since its second edition in London in 1985. The lifesaving competition lasts three days: two days in the pool and one day on the beach-surf. The ten best lifesaving teams in the World can participate in these top Games and the selection is made at the World Championships one year before holding the Games.  Follow our team at the next World Games here...

New Zealand Teams