Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving Club members have been united in their grief after the tragic death of Matt Barclay at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast.
Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving Club members have been united in their grief after the tragic death of Matt Barclay at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast.

Australian titles to go ahead

THE Australian Surf Lifesaving Titles will go ahead tomorrow in line with the wishes of the parents of Matt Barclay, club officials revealed today.

Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving Club president told the Sunshine Coast Daily that the club's board had met today and resolved to support the championships continuing in line with Matt's parents' wishes.

Mr Ryan said a decision had been made for the championships to be held at North Kirra from tomorrow morning.

He said the Maroochydore club had also was being given great lattitude to substitute competitors in circumstances where people did not want to compete.

Mr Ryan said a memorial service would be held at 7am on Sunday at the titles, as well as the one at Maroochydore at 5pm today.

Mr Ryan said Matt's parents, Steve and Donna, had been remarkably strong in the face of the horrible situation.

It is expected to be moved to another location if the national body decides it will go ahead.

Mr Ryan said conditions yesterday were not overly dangerous.

"It was surf you and I would have swum in yesterday,'' he told the Daily.

Earlier, Mr Ryan read a tribute to Matthew Barclay, describing him as one of the club's finest young lifesavers.

"All of our hearts go out to Matthew's family, who are such a major part of our club and our community, and all of his team mates.

"He was not only one of the club's most outstanding competitors, winning Queensland gold medals and identified as a future champion, but also a fine upstanding member of our community.

"We are a very close-knit family orientated club who compete together, socialise together and today we are grieving together.

"The 120 members of our touring team are obviously very affected by this tragic loss of one of our own, but I know Matthew's memory will live on in all our hearts forever.

"We all come together as a team last night and today under the support and direction of our club elders.

"Matthew loved competition and while he was very successful individually he was also a great young club and team man who we will miss greatly.''

"I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our buddies in Surf Life Saving Australia who searched tirelessly for our Matt, including all our volunteer lifesavers, emergency services and police, and to all our Sunshine Coast Community thank you for all your support."

At 5pm this afternoon Maroochydore SLSC will hold a tribute to Matt Barclay at the club, this will involve a link to the Broadbeach SLSC where our competitors will have a 1 min silence in memory of our fallen Black Swan. Blue Black and white streamers will be worn. All members and family are invited.

Fate of titles to be decided this afternoon

The fate of the national surf life saving competition that claimed the life a young Maroochydore competitor will be decided this afternoon.

Surf Life Saving officials are in crisis management meetings to decide whether the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, based at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast, will continue after the death of Matthew Barclay.

Matthew, a Maroochydoore Surf Club member, drowned during a under-15s race yesterday.

His board washed up on Kurrawa Beach yesterday afternoon, sparking a frantic search by police, helicopters and surf life savers.

His body was found this morning north of where he entered the water.

The competition has been suspended today.

Surf Life Saving Australia chief executive Brett Williamson said a decision on whether the event would continue would be made by 4pm "at the latest."

"The decision will include whether all or some events are continued somewhere," he said.

"It will be a decision based on a lot of inputs and that will be done in the next couple of hours."

Mr Williamson said the competition committee were seeking extra advice from competitors and leading advisers.

Asked whether the competition would go ahead tomorrow, Mr Williamson gave his "personal opinion" that "it would be pretty tough to run the event tomorrow."   - Ava Benny-Morrison of APN Newsdesk

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