Boat rowing in SLSA competition dated from almost the start of the Aussies in 1915. Ten years later, the “Royal” clubs of the Gold Coast defected from “Royal” to “Surf” partly because of the opportunity to row the big heavy “clinker” boats in competition. Tweed Heads-Coolangatta SLSC, our oldest club, began rowing the “Greenmount” in SLSA competition, Kirra SLSC the “Arakoon”, and so on.

Meanwhile, all through the 1920’s “Royal” offered the North Coast clubs R&R, Surf and Belt racing, and Stillwater Lifesaving events. Our club dominated in these competitions for an entire decade. Maroochydore appears to have been the dominant voice in the defection of the North Coast clubs to “Surf” between 1929 and 1931. But if boat rowing was a major motivating factor, that doesn’t come through strongly: As you know, Maroochydore SLSC became the inaugural Club Champions at the first State Championships held in a “United” Queensland in 1932 – but they did it without a boat. Our friends at Mooloolaba rowed “Spray” to victory that day.

Suddenly, in December 1934, the “Greenmount” appeared on our beach. It had been purchased from TH&C and it was renamed “Swan”. The driving force behind this acquisition was Club Secretary, Jack Tyrell. Jack was also big in local Rugby League and Boxing circles, so we can speculate that cross-training in the off-season formed part of the attraction. 

History Page Surf Boat

Pictured – Jack Tyrell

History Page Surf Boat (2)

Pictured – the “Greenmount” purchased from Tweed Heads-Coolangatta

Success in boat competition didn’t come our way in the 1930’s however. The boat ended up covered in sand on our beach as war broke out. It was salvaged by the Kuskopf Brothers, plied the Maroochy River as a fishing boat, and later, fitted with a motor, “Swan” journeyed from the Tweed to Fraser Island!

Swan As Fishing Boat 6 Mb Doc030215 Bw (2)

Pictured – the ‘Swan’ boat during its fishing boat era

1947 saw the launch of “Swan II” and our rich heritage as a boat club began in earnest. The first of our State Championships came in 1952 with “Cheon” Hawthorne at the sweep oar. Two more State Junior Boat Titles were won in 1955 and 1956 and then came the Open Boat in 1957. Life Member Ken Neil featured in two of those wins.

Swan 11

After “Cheon” came “Asho”, the Master sweep. Maroochydore dominated Queensland boat rowing for the next 35 years. Maroochydore medalled in Australian Open Boat finals in 1965-67 and 1973, then in 1994 and 2001. “Asho” broke through with the first of our 3 Australian Junior Boat Championships – 1974, 1981 (“Lofty”) and 1992 (Rick Estreich). “

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Pictured – 1974 Australian Junior Champions (Asho)

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Pictured – 1981 Australian Junior Champions (Lofty)

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Pictured – 1992 Australian Under 19 Champions

Asho” scored 3 out of 3 State Boat Championships in 1981, while “Lofty” Richardson did it again in 1987.

In 1990 at Marcoola, Laurie Murphy and “Lofty” quinella’d the State Open Boat Race Championship. Laurie had swept a dominant Reserve Grade crew to Australian Gold a year earlier in 1989 at Coolangatta.

The sweetest of sweet victories came for the Boat section in 2013 when Michael ” Megsy ” Brookes injected his magnificent boat crew into Maroochydore’s Australian Champion Lifesaver Relay. Raylene Symons rowed that day in place of Corey Stone in order to get the required gender mix for the Team. A victory for the True Believers.

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Pictured – 2013 Lifesaver Relay Champions of Australia

Alright, alright, we hear ya! It seems wrong to do this in a Boat story, but the other magnificent members of the Team were Beau Farrell (Board), Sam Bell (Swim), Peter Elford (Ski) and Mitch Harvey (Run).

“Megsy” swept for a record 4 State Gold for 2015. The evergreen Laurie Murphy also swept in the Relay.