1993 – First personal contact with Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) by the Director of the Australian Resource Centre, Australian Embassy, Tokyo while the Director was on the Sunshine Coast. Maroochydore SLSC offered to participate in a surf lifesaving and surf sports relationship between the two countries.
1996 – Shimoda Life Saving Club of Japan expressed an interest in progressing the Maroochydore offer.
1997 & 1998 – two Maroochydore lifesavers travelled to Shimoda LSC to patrol and train on their beaches. In 1997 the Embassy Director and two Shimoda lifesavers visited Maroochydore.
1998 – The first team of ten Shimoda lifesavers visited and stayed at Maroochydore SLSC in December to participate in lifesaving training and to achieve their Australian surf lifesaving Bronze Medallion award. They also patrolled the beaches after they had received their awards. This commenced the annual tour by Shimoda lifesavers to Maroochydore beaches since.
1999 – A team of 2 chaperones and 9 Maroochydore lifesavers travelled to Shimoda City where they participated in a ceremony for the official signing of the Maroochydore SLSC – Shimoda LSC Sister Club agreement. The document was backdated to the first official visit to Maroochydore by Shimoda lifesavers on 21 December 1998.

Accurately, the relationship had its origins thirty years ago. The first Maroochydore lifesavers travelled to Shimoda shores and patrolled twenty-six years ago, and the Sister Club exchange program is now officially twenty-five years old.


Annually and progressing forward, Shimoda LSC would send a large group of lifesavers to Maroochydore SLSC each December and Maroochydore between two to six lifesavers to Shimoda beaches in the July-August period.
The program transitioned from a mixed lifesaving and surf sports program to a largely surf sports program in the latter years. The program for Maroochydore lifesavers in Shimoda is typically one of a welcome dinner, accommodation in the lifesaving beach houses, all-day beach patrols, some sightseeing and a culinary, cultural and friendship exchange.

Their program is similar to what the Shimoda lifesavers experience in Maroochydore. A welcome greeting at the airport, a visit to Surf Life Saving Queensland headquarters in Brisbane and then off to Maroochydore surf club where they are registered as members and provided accommodation in the club dormitories for the next ten nights. From there it is typically a lunch followed by settling into Maroochydore life before a welcome dinner. During their stay they enjoy a nine-day surf sports training program intermixed with sightseeing, fitness sessions and hosted dinners with club families. Some even stay longer for homestays after the program is completed.


Since the establishment of the Maroochydore SLSC – Shimoda LSC Sister Club Exchange Program in 1998, the program and the sister club relationship has flourished. The program has reached beyond volunteer lifesavers in both clubs, extending to families, friends and members of their respective communities.

The program is a partnership between two surf clubs that share a passion for lifesaving, surf sports and the communities they serve, recognising the mutual benefits for both Shimoda and Japan, Maroochydore and Australia.

To date, 91 Maroochydore members have travelled to Shimoda to patrol, train, coach or visit at Shimoda beaches alongside Shimoda members. In the same period, 323 Shimoda members have visited Maroochydore with over 150 achieving Bronze Medallion and other Lifesaving Awards, in addition to participating in surf sports coaching. These numbers have been achieved despite the COVID pandemic interrupting the program in 2020.

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