Surf Life Saving Clubs celebrate the spirit of Mardi Gras

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Lifesavers with Pride (LWP) has partnered with Surf Life Saving Clubs along Australia’s east coast to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras to their beaches on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Clubs hosting Rainbow Beaches celebrations include Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee and Bondi in Sydney’s east; Dee Why, Bigola, Avalon and Queenscliff in the northern beaches and Byron Bay, Brunswick and Yamba in the NSW region.

As part of the Rainbow Beaches celebration, beach patrollers, nippers and swim clubs will be adding color to their gear and fluorinated zinc to their sun protection. Some clubs are also planning additional activities including ‘paddle outings’ (depending on conditions) and have pledged to local councils and businesses to show their support.

Taking place the weekend before the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, Rainbow Beaches is a grassroots initiative among Surf Life Saving members that celebrates the strength and diversity of clubs and coastal communities bringing the spirit of Mardi Gras to the beach.

LWP’s Ivan Power, who developed this initiative with LWP President Gary Driscoll, said: “Surf Life Saving has evolved to become much more diverse and inclusive since its inception over 100 years ago to make our beaches more sure. The more diverse, inclusive and welcoming we are as a community, the stronger and more effective our movement can be.

“Surf Lifesaving Clubs are part of communities across the country whose culture has changed significantly in recent years, reflecting the communities and members they serve. We are excited to work with Mardi Gras to empower our members and clubs to show the progressive and inclusive nature of our communities and our movement.

Albert Kruger, Managing Director of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras adds: “It’s wonderful to see so many beaches involved in this year’s Rainbow Beaches event. Community initiatives like Rainbow Beaches are important because they let the LGBTQIA+ community know that we are welcome, accepted and celebrated.

For over a decade, Lifesavers with Pride (LWP) have participated in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade to highlight the safe, proud and progressive nature of Surf Life Saving, one of the oldest and largest community movements from Australia.

Much like entries to LWP’s annual parade, Rainbow Beaches is another way Surf Life Saving demonstrates that clubs are diverse and inclusive, and that everyone is welcome to join our great community.

Rainbow Beaches first took place on select Sydney beaches in 2021 to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras to the beach. In 2022, surf clubs across the state are taking part to highlight the safe, proud and progressive nature of their communities and it is hoped that clubs across Australia will take part in the annual celebrations in the years to come.

Rainbow Beaches
Sunday, February 27, 2022, from 08:00 AEDT
Eastern Sydney: including Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee and Bondi
Northern Beaches: including Dee Why, Bigola, Avalon and Queenscliff
Regional: including Byron Bay, Brunswick, Yamba

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