Surf boat race in the 1930’s, Bondi beach, Australia
Surfing and paddling competitions were a new thing on the Mainland of North America at the beginning of the 1930s, but in Hawai`i, surfing contests had an ancient history. And even Australia was ahead of California when it came to organized ocean sports competition. By the time the Pacific Coast Championships got started in California in 1928, Australian surfing competition was already experiencing its first growing pains as an essential ingredient to the life saving movement.
From 1910 to the late 1950s Australian and New Zealand surfing was dominated by the Surf Life Saving Association.
And surfing became, for those who wanted to become closely involved, synonymous with surf life saving. Very few people who were not members of the SLSA used any type of equipment or craft in the surf. For those more interested in surfing than the casual beachgoer, the surf life saving clubs came to be operational bases, and often homes away from home. The clubs provided the focus and framework for virtually all their surfing activities.