FORREST Beach is the place to be this weekend with surf lifesavers gearing up for a big weekend of surf sports action.
The Forrest Beach Surf Club is host to the third North Barrier Branch carnival of the season as clubs from as far south as Sarina make the trip north for the annual event.
Branch clubs Sarina, Eimeo, Mackay, Ayr, Townsville’s Picnic Bay, Arcadian and Forrest Beach will battle it out for top spot over the two-day carnival, showcasing lifesaving skills and athleticism in a range of beach and water events.
Competitors from ages under-eight nippers to masters will compete in the swim, board race, ski race, rescue tube race, board rescue, ironperson events, beach flags and sprints as well as the popular team events in the beach relay, wade relay, swim teams and the cameron relay.
Club Vice President Graeme Gibson said the club enjoyed hosting the carnival each year as it always proved to be a great weekend both on and off the beach.
He said: ‘The surf carnival is a great event for our club and the wider community.
‘Clubs within the branch look forward to coming up to our club as it’s one of the first carnivals of the season, everyone enjoys the catch up after the off season, the competition and the good old fashion Forrest Beach hospitality.
‘We are fortunate to be a proud community partner with the Hinchinbrook Shire Council through the local Community Activity Grant. We thank the Council for their support and all our sponsors and our volunteers who help make this event possible.’
Along with all the action on the beach, the surf club will be running a canteen over the weekend as well as dinner, drinks, licensed bar and live entertainment from 4.00 pm on the Saturday evening.
Mr Gibson said: ‘We encourage the community to come along and cheer on their local team and join in the festivities over the weekend.
‘It’s been a nervous time with Covid-19 in the region so it’s good we can still go ahead.’
Today also marks the start of a week-long fundraising campaign for surf clubs in the state with the annual Queensland Lifesavers Appeal.
Mr Gibson said: ‘The annual appeal supports the incredible work performed by our volunteer lifesavers in keeping our beaches safe.
‘While our lifesavers volunteer their time, the costs of setting up a single beach patrol can add up to more than $80,000 worth of necessary life saving equipment that’s required.
‘Giving in the appeal also helps us train our young lifesavers and provide continuous development programs and vital aquatic safety education to the public.’
The fundraising appeal will start Saturday 9 October and will continue through until Sunday 17 October.
The carnival is a major fundraiser for the club each year with all money raised going back into the club towards lifesaving services, youth development, training, and education.
Mr Gibson said: ‘Our carnival is a great opportunity to come together, get outdoors, celebrate our community, for people to see what the lifesaving movement is all about and of course raise vital funds for our club so we can continue to provide much needed lifesaving services to the public.’
The carnival starts at 10am today.