TRAINING: Lifesavers in action at Mooloolaba Beach.
TRAINING: Lifesavers in action at Mooloolaba Beach. Warren Lynam

Devlin: surf sports vital, but club did right thing

RALPH Devlin has backed surf sports as an essential part of saving lives on the beach.

The Surf Life Saving Queensland president and long-serving Maroochydore member has spoken out after Mooloolaba announced it was cutting back on the costly program which produced many Ironman greats.

Mr Devlin said surf sports "keeps our lifesavers rescue ready and fit, well and alert".

He had no problem with Maroochydore Surf Life Saving's decision not to reveal how much it spent on the program.

Ralph Devlin SC, SLSQ President Photo: Kari Bourne / Sunshine Coast Daily
Ralph Devlin SC, SLSQ President Photo: Kari Bourne / Sunshine Coast Daily Kari Bourne

"It's up to them if they choose to tell you something, but the proof is in the pudding.

"We have had a fatality-free summer on the beach and near the river at Maroochydore.

"Fit lifesavers do a job for the public. Would you rather be saved by someone who pushes a pen at a desk or an Ironman?"

Mr Devlin said the elite athletes were required to do 25 hours of patrols on beaches and they were penalised if caught shirking.

"We have rules about filling in hours and I have sat on disciplinary processes. We don't tolerate fudging hours."

Mr Devlin said some members at Mooloolaba were concerned about the club's "budgetary emphasis on surf sports".

The Daily revealed last week the club had budgeted three times more for surf sports expenses than lifesaving expenses.

"Other clubs are nowhere near that amount," Mr Devlin said. "Every club has to balance its' budget, like any other not-for-profit.

"I applaud Mooloolaba for its difficult decision."

He said he had seen the club's finances three days before the AGM and advised something had to be done to keep it solvent.

"I am satisfied they have adjusted their budget into the future."

He said the club owed about $1 million to creditors and was now in a position to pay its debts.

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He was confident other clubs on the Coast were coping.

"Peregian Beach struggled, Sunshine had a difficult season, each club has its cycle.

"Mooloolaba is very robust, but lifesavers will be on the beach next summer.

"My knowledge (is that) the clubs with a big surf sports program such as Noosa, Alex and Maroochydore are travelling well.

"I don't see any kind of pattern."

He expected some prominent Ironmen to leave.

"Matt Poole came here from NSW via the Gold Coast, he is not original," he said.

"Ali day also came from NSW to the Coast.

"The movement of athletes from Mooloolaba will be heavy this year. They will follow the coach, he has gone to Currumbin.

"This is a normal part of life."



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