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Porthtowan SLSC History

Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club was formed on the 24th October 1955.

It was the fourth Surf Life-Saving Club to be formed in Great Britain, following Bude, Brighton and St. Agnes.  After the busy summer of 1955 when several bathers needed rescuing from the sea off Porthtowan, a group of locals met with Alan Kennedy of Australia House and members of Bude S.L.S.C.  – and Porthtowan S.L.S.C was born.

After a winter of hard training, 8 of the founder members were awarded their Bronze Medallion for Lifesaving.  They were: Tom Wilkinson, Doug Sprague, Larry Johns, Donald Sprague, Ricky Smith, Rufus Williams, David Congdon and David Taylor.  1956 saw the start of Beach Patrols at Porthtowan and since this time, there have been no fatalities whilst the beach has been patrolled.  The Club places great emphasis on training its members in life saving skills, to ensure that this tradition is maintained.

In its early years, the Club played an important role in the growth of the Surf Life Saving movement in this country.  A number of its members were instrumental in the formation, development and operation of the Surf Life-Saving Association of Great Britain and also helped produce the Association’s first Instruction, Examination and Competition Manual.  This close-knit group also assisted in the creation of a large number of clubs on various beaches throughout Great Britain.

Traditionally, the club has been prominent at carnivals and competitions. In fact, Porthtowan SLSC hosted the first ever National championships for the SLSA of GB.  From the undefeated Tug-o-war team of the 1960’s, Greasy Pole (Pillow Fight), Chariot racing, R + R and March Past to the more recent success of the Surf-Boat crews and Nippers, and Seniors Porthtowan has always put on a good display, and has been one of the clubs to beat.

The same is true of its social and fundraising activities:- “The Cornish and Open Surfing Contest” was first organised by the club and has since gone on to be a highlight in many surfers’ calendars.  The club was once also famous for its “Bumper Barbeque” and Grand Raffle each year as well as its involvement during the 70s and early 80s with the “Porthtowan Sandwich”- a gala week run in conjunction with the Round Table which benefited many local charities.


© Porthtowan S.L.S.C 2011.