Jim Wall Iron
The Jim Wall Iron event has been an iconic part of the Surf Coast lifesaving culture since ‘60s, in fact it’s the longest running iron event in the world.
The Wall family’s massive contribution to Torquay SLSC started in December 1945 at Jim Wall’s campsite, behind the surf beach sand dunes, when forming a surf club was proposed – within weeks the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club was founded on Jim Wall and Frank Murphy’s motion. Jim’s brother, Tom, became honorary secretary in 1947, serving 7 years in all and Jim was elected president in 1949, to continue for 13 years. Under Jim’s leadership the Club took on many firsts, but of great significance was the staging of the Australian & International Surf Life Saving Championships in 1956, in conjunction with the Melbourne Olympic Games, viewed on the surf beach by about 70,000 spectators.
Starting as the Jim Wall “Surfathon” in 1962, named for early club resident Jim Wall, the unique event was first created at TSLSC to challenge all round surf and water ability, with an endurance format including continuous efforts in swimming, board and ski paddling and beach running. It is believed to be the first continuous ironman event ever staged, in that format that has now become standard. The event has become a coveted ‘hit out’ for both local and interstate athletes, with the sought-after prize being a hand on the Jim Wall trophy.
Having been won by many well-known athletes over the years, such as Matt Bevilacqua, Harriet Brown, Naomi Scott and Georgia Miller, the event has seen its fair share of local champions too – names such as David Strahan, Zeb Walsh, Cliff Goulding, and Terry Wall (son of Jim) in the early days, have graced the podium.
In modern times the event has become part of a national circuit and as females have greatly bolstered the surf life saving movement, they are now competing in their section of the event as fiercely as their male counterparts.
To find out more about the Jim Wall Iron event and how to enter, email [email protected]