Bond University researchers have developed a new surf safety rating system that will help reduce serious head-related injuries related to surf lifesaving events.
The Surf Hazard Rating (SHR) model assesses surf conditions and helps event decision-makers identify when athletes are required to wear safety helmets. When the surf is assessed to have a rating of 13+, on a scale of 1 to 30, participants are required to wear helmets. In a trial of the SHR model during the 2014-15 season, helmets had been worn in approximately 30% of surfboat events. Researchers found significant evidence that the serious nature of head-related injuries was reduced overall.
The research, which was funded by Surf Life Saving Australia, began in the wake of a fatal incident at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in 2012, and similar drowning incidents in 2010 and 1996. As a further application, the SHR model became a tool for event decision-makers to make the correct risk-related judgements on whether carnival events were continued, postponed or cancelled.