Surf Life Saving and IronWoman Racing – Join The Action!

Ambassador Tara Coleman has been a Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronWoman athlete for the last six years and involved in Surf Life Saving for twelve years. She has recently been awarded ten years long service leave due to her commitment. 

Growing up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Tara joined her first surf club at the age of twelve. She gained her Surf Rescue Certificate at the age of thirteen and her Bronze Medallion Certificate II at the age of fifteen. Incredibly proud to be part of Surf Life Saving Australia’s rich history, Tara shares her top tips of how to get involved below.

What is IronWoman Racing?

IronWoman racing is a multi-discipline sport competing in the ocean, with a surf swim, board paddle, ski paddle and run leg combined. Races can vary from endurance to elimination rounds, which often involve continuous racing for anywhere between 15 minutes to 3 hours. The season runs from September to April.

Highlights of the sport?

Travelling to the most beautiful beaches all over Australia and also overseas to compete in various races. There are many events to compete in such as branch titles, State titles, Australian titles and World Titles.

How to become involved in Surf Life Saving?

  1. Join a surf club.
  2. Once you have joined a surf club, depending on age you can sign up to the following;
    • Nippers – for those 5 to 14 years of age. Nippers take place across Australia at local surf clubs every Sunday morning. Various events can be competed in, including beach flags, beach sprint, board race, swim race, learning basic surf skills and promoting beach safety.
    • Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) training – can be completed for those aged 13 years +
    • Bronze Medallion (BM) – for those aged 15 years + (providing SRC has been completed). A BM is needed to be able to compete in surf life events and participate in volunteer patrols.
  3. To compete in State and Australian titles, 25 hours of surf patrol must be achieved.
  4. On achieving the 25 hours, Your surf club will let you know the days they train for the board, ski, swim training, run training, gym etc.


There are 313 surf clubs with 169,633 members involved in surf life saving. (Surf Life Saving Australia, 2016)

Tara’s tips for beginners

  • Meet the surf club coach and find out the training days.
  • Get a board to paddle and be measured up for a ski (important to get a ski that is the right size).
  • If you can’t make the days swim training is on, join a local swim squad.
  • Gradually ease into training. It is a multi-discipline sport with 4 different legs which all take the time to master.


  • Ski
  • Ski paddle
  • Board
  • Swimmers
  • Swimming cap
  • Goggles
  • Winter gear
    • Paddling clothes, a wetsuit or some thermal clothes
    • Long sleeve rash shirt and long tights.
  • Summer
    • A hi-vis rash shirt (bright pink/yellow)
    • Sunscreen
    • Zinc
    • Sunglasses
    • Beach hat


  • Sports Watch
  • SMG’s Wellness App to track wellbeing and performance data

…and you’re off!