The beach sprint and beach relay events have been conducted at surf carnivals since the earliest days with both events making their debuts at the Australian titles in the 1919-20 season. Apart from the introduction of electronic timing in recent times, little has changed over the years with the successful competitors still being those who can run fastest over the soft sand.

Beach flags were introduced to the Australian titles after the 2nd World War and now feature as one of the most high profile events at the championships. Apart from a change of title from “musical flags” to beach flags, little has changed in the event since their introduction.

The 2km & 1km beach runs are only recent additions to the beach program, having been introduced in the mid 2000’s.


Beach competition involves three basic events –

  • Individual beach sprint over a distance of 70m for U8 to U14 & Masters competition (30yrs +) or 90m for U15 to Opens
  • Beach Relay comprised of 4 competitors over the same distance as the individual event
  • Beach Flags over a distance of approximately 15m for U8 to U14 & Masters competition and 20m for U15 to Opens
  • 2km (U15 to Opens & Masters) & 1km (Masters 64 +) beach run

With the exception of the 2km & 1km runs, all three events are conducted by way of knock out rounds, semi finals and ultimately a final


The beach sprint and beach relay events are straightforward races over the relevant distance. Up to 10 competitors per race can start with the winner being the first person whose chest crosses the line. In the beach relay, team members are expected to exchange a baton (usually a small length of garden hose) at the end of each leg.


The beach flags event requires competitors to lay on their stomachs facing away from a series of “flags” (short pieces of garden hose) placed in the sand. On the sound of a whistle competitors stand up, turn and race to collect one of the flags. The number of flags available will generally be one less than the number of competitors involved though in some instances, if there a large number of participants, more than one person may be eliminated at a time.


To undertake any of the beach events, you need to be at least moderately fit. The beach sprint requires an ability to undertake a number of sprints over a relatively short period of time while good reflexes are also be a useful attribute for the beach flags event. For the 2km & 1km beach runs, stamina is an essential.


The club currently conducts specialised beach sprint sessions for members once a week though this is likely to increase as the season progresses. During the winter months this session is held at the Narrabeen Sports Academy. As the season warms up, the sessions increase and also occur at the beach. The sessions generally last for about an hour and are focused on the beach sprint, beach relay and beach flags events and on improving the techniques required for each.

The club competes at a number of local carnivals throughout the season in both junior and senior competition. The junior carnivals (3) are held on a Sunday and beach events generally commence at about 9am though it may vary from carnival to carnival.


The senior carnivals (U15 – Opens) are held on a Saturday with beach events generally commencing mid morning and concluding early afternoon. Again this may vary from carnival to carnival. The same applies to Masters events (30+). Masters carnivals are generally held separately to senior carnivals and timing can vary depending on the arrangements made by the host club.

The beach sprint, relay and flag events are conducted at all surf carnivals. The 2km & 1km beach runs are generally only held at championship carnivals.


At local junior carnivals it is generally difficult to compete in both land and water based events though it may be possible in some circumstances. In the U8 age group (the first age at which children can compete), the program is conducted in a way to allow full participation in both land and water based events.

Similar difficulties occur at senior carnivals though not necessarily to the same degree. Masters carnivals offer a bit more flexibility again than senior carnivals.

At championship carnivals, the capacity to do both land and water based events at all carnivals can be limited depending on the timetable.


If you are interested in competing in any beach events or would like further information about competition and training, please contact Brett Jeffrey at