Lifesaving Sport : When altruism meets performance
Still little known in France, this astonishing and versatile sport deserves to be talked about! So where does it come from, what does it consist of, what level and what outfit. Make some space for this fabulous sport that descends straight from professional rescue.
Where does lifesaving sport come from ?
Let's go back to the beginning. In the early of 20th century in Australia, swimming in the sea became more democratic… and the accidents that went with it! The most experienced swimmers therefore become volunteer lifeguards and then, with their growing number, dedicated clubs appear and very quickly, competitions are organized. This new sport is called Coastal Sport Rescue.
At the same time on the other side of the world, the first swimming pool rescue competition, called Flat Water Rescue, was born in France.
We then make a leap of more than 80 years and we arrive in 1994 when Flat Water Rescue and Coastal Rescue merge into the same federation.
That's it, Lifesaving Sport is born!
What is Life Saving Sport ?
Lifesaving sport is therefore the combination of the two disciplines from which it comes (coastal and flat water).
In France life saving sport depends on the FFSS and includes several specialties on sand, at sea and in swimming pools.
Its different practices are inspired by situations found in professional rescue and allow the use of operational rescue equipment (tube buoy, fins, Rescue Board etc.)
The difference between coastal rescue and flatwater rescue
It is practiced on sand, at sea or in water, with or without a boat.
It includes swimming, rescue board, kayaking or even sprinting. The goal is to simulate a rescue while being the fastest.
Flat water rescue
It is practiced in a swimming pool. These are mainly swimming activities with tube buoys, fins or mannequins. Here again, we learn to rescue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Note that despite the lack of visibility of lifesaving sport, it is a sport where France excels! As proof, his 3rd place obtained in 2018 at the World Championships in Australia.
Why start Lifesaving Sport?
If in competition it is a sport that requires great sporting skills, in a club it is a fun and varied activity open to all that develops the spirit of citizenship. Whoever practices this sport will know how to swim, save himself and save others.
There are clubs all over France, from Montpellier to Biarritz via Saint-Malo. To find yours, go to the official site of the FFSS.
Which outfit to do Lifesaving sport ?
For club practice and training, the outfit depends on the weather conditions and the session practiced (kayak, flat water water or other).
> In mid-season, wear a 3/2mm shorty wetsuit when it's not too cold.
> Finally in winter, it's either a 3/2 mm neoprene wetsuit, or a full 4/3 mm wetsuit when it's really cold.
Lifesaving sport in competition
Many competitions and championships take place in France each year. The most prestigious international matches are the European and World Championships. We hope that the discipline will land at the Olympic Games one day!
The events are extremely varied as they are inspired by real life circumstances in a rescue situation.
Coastal rescue trials:
> 6 individual events: Swimming, Rescue Board, Beach Sprint, Surf Ski Race, Beach Flags as well as the very impressive Ironman Race where the competitors go swimming, board, surf ski and running.
> 6 relay events on sand, board or buoy.
The flat water events:
> 6 individual, mainly mannequin races with obstacles, fins or tube buoys.
> 6 relay events with 4 competitors.
Time to flex with our professional ambassadors
At Saint Jacques Wetsuits, versatility is one of our priorities. This is why we equip enthusiasts of well known board sports such as surf, wake or stand up paddle but also new and / or confidential sports such as scuba diving, wingfoil and of course, lifesaving sport.
Gaëtan Viala recently joined the team of our ambassadors. A high-level athlete within the Montpellier Sport Lifesaving Pole France since 2014, he was crowned French champion in 2019 in flat water and multiple French medalist in international competitions, just that!
Also ambassador of the Saint Jacques Wetsuits brand, Maxandre Pacull-Marquié, who has been practicing for already ten years.
Maxandre participated last May to the French Rescue in the south of France. A 4-day competition with flat and coastal water events. He excelled in the coastal part with nice second places in board, kayak and swimming but above all a well-deserved first place in the Oceanman Race, which cumulates on a random order, the three maritime events.
He obtained the trophy for best youth lifeguard in addition to his many medals.
Cherry on top, this competition qualified him for the European Lifesaving Sport Championships. He will therefore represent the colors of our beautiful country for this competition, classy !
As you can see, lifesaving sport has everything to become an iconic sport! Surpassing oneself, mutual aid, civic spirit and physical condition, this is a discipline that will satisfy you on all points.
Want to discover other board sports? Don't hesitate to check out our blog.
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