Lifeguards from across the country are in Nova Scotia this weekend to compete in the National Surf Lifesaving Championships.
The three-day event will see 159 lifeguards competing in a variety of events to test their strength, endurance, and lifeguarding skills.
“They have to get out there quick, they need to be fit, they need to spot things, so this is an enhancement to their lifeguarding profession,” said Paul D’eon, director of Nova Scotia’s Lifeguard Service.
Nelson Giraldo is a lifeguard in Montreal and has been competing for 18 years. One of his favourite competitions is the Oceanman event. It involves a 500 metre paddle in a kayak, followed by a 400 lap using a surf ski and then finishes with a 200 metre swim.
“Each time you go into the water the conditions can be completely different,” said Giraldo, “so you have to analyze that really quickly, you have to be able to judge the conditions really fast to be able to do your race.”
Kaili Caulier is a lifeguard here in Nova Scotia and has competed for about 6 years. While the competition can be fierce she says there’s lots of camaraderie and it can be an opportunity to learn new things.
“It’s a very educational experience, so if there’s a technique that they see I’m doing well they’ll ask me about it, and if there’s something I see they can do they’re happy to tell me and teach me the best way to do everything,” said Caulier.
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This year the lifeguards are also competing for a shot to represent the national team at a competition in Italy next year.
The National Surf Lifesaving Championships are held in Nova Scotia every other year. Next year’s event will take place in New Brunswick.