Kenny backs move from Kurrawa

Matt Barclay
Matt Barclay

SUNSHNE Coast ironman legend Grant Kenny has backed a decision to move the national surf lifesaving titles away from Kurrawa out of respect for the families of those killed there.

Kenny told ABC radio today that while he did not believe Kurrawa was too dangerous to hold the titles, he understood the decision given the history of tragic deaths.

Fourteen-year-old Maroochydore lifesaver Matthew Barclay last month became the third competitor to be killed at Kurrawa beach during the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) said it would advise Events Queensland and the Gold Coast City Council of its intention to move the 2013 championships from Kurrawa.

"We are taking this action ... out of respect for Robert Gatenby, Saxon Bird and Matthew Barclay and their families," SLSA chief executive Brett Williamson said in a statement late on Tuesday.

"The emotional wellbeing of our members, athletes, officials, volunteers and event staff who have all been greatly affected by these tragic accidents is also vital."

Mr Williamson said that organisers would look at hosting the event at another beach on the Gold Coast next year or a number of beaches.

The organisers are also looking at reviewing the size and scale of the event with some saying with 7000 competitors it is too large to manage safety issues.

"We will announce the new primary host venue in the coming months after a further thorough assessment of available options and discussions with Events Queensland and Gold Coast City Council,'' Mr Williamson said.

"Surf Life Saving Australia will also be fast tracking the 'top to bottom' review of the event which was initiated last year to review the size, duration, types of events, age groups and welfare issues.

"All members will be given the opportunity to contribute via online surveys and regional and state forums. 

"These forums will also enable SLSA to update our membership on decisions pertaining to the conduct of the 2012 Championships and we welcome feedback from our clubs and members right around Australia."

Topics:  kurrawa kurrawa beach matthew barclay surf life saving

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