Everything you need to know about Bondi Rescue

Bondi Rescue is a factual Australian television show which airs on Network 10. The show has been on the air since 2006 and follows the daily lives and the routine of the Waverley Council’s professional lifeguard team who patrol the shores of Bondi Beach.

A spin-off of the show, which is set in Bali, Indonesia was created and aired in 2008. The show is broadcast in more than 100 countries.

The shows produced is part-time lifeguard Ben Davies and it is narrated by Osher Günsberg.

What is the premise of Bondi Rescue?

The show centres on the working lives and routines of Bondi lifeguards who are responsible for performing almost five thousands rescues each year during the summer months. Bondi lifeguards also deal with other dangerous incidents on the beach, such as missing children, shark scares, jellyfish stings, injuries, sexual predators and deviants, drunken beach goers and theft. On occasion, celebrities will also make an appearance at the famous Bondi Beach and are sometimes featured in the show. Celebrities that have appeared on the show include David Hasselhoff and Kelly Slater, whom both starred in the fictional show Baywatch. The beach has also seen the likes of Hugh Grant, Zac Efron, Rowan Atkinson, Paris Hilton, Russel Crowe, Richard Branson, Conan O’Brien, Snoop Dogg, Steve Irwin and his daughter Bindi and the Indian Cricket Team. Bondi veterinarian, Chris Brown who also has his own show ‘Bondi Vet’ makes regular appearances on the beach.

The beach also has an Annual Lifeguard Ironman Challenge which appears on the show. The competition involves each lifeguard making a one kilometer run from Bondi to another beach, Tamarama and then a one kilometer swim to Bronte Beach. Lifeguards then made two kilometer board paddle back to Bondi Beach. The race is also handicapped, with the more capable competitors starting off later from Bondi Beach.

The footage for Bondi Rescue is filmed during the prior Australian summer, usually between the months of November and February. A number of the episodes focus on special days like Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Australia Day. Sometimes scenes from the nearby Tamarama and Bronte Beaches that the lifeguards also patrol are also sometimes shown on the show. Later seasons of the show also show footage filmed during the lifeguard trials and exercise programs which take place in the middle of the year. The training sessions are trials which test the fitness, strength and ability of the lifeguards. The fitness tests involved an 800 metre swim which must be completed in less than thirteen and a half minutes, this part of the test is completed in a swimming pool. Next the lifeguards must take part in a 600 metre swim in the surf before two 600 metre runs on the sand and a 600 metre board paddle. The trainee lifeguards must then perform a number of rescues in 25 minutes. Competitors who fail the test are eliminated from the test.

A lot of the footage is filmed on the lifeguards rescue boards and jet skis which cameras attached for close-up footage. Cameramen also regularly follow the lifeguards into the sea and have assisted in the rescues on a number of occasions. The Waverley council is paid $139,000 a year and received a percentage of the profits from the show. They also have review rights on the show, in order to ensure that they find the content acceptable for air.

Bondi Rescue has been very successful over the course of many seasons.

The show has regularly averaged over 1.31 million viewers during the third season. Impressively the show also won the Logie Awards for the most popular factual program in the years of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The show led to the successful commissioning of a number of other surf-related series including Seven Networks Surf Patrol, and the Nine Network’s Deadly Surf.

Bondi Rescue lifeguards
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Lifeguards on the Bondi Rescue

There are a number of lifeguards who are regularly featured on the show including; Aaron Buchan (Azza B), Aaron Graham (Azza G), Adriel Young (Bacon), Andrew Reid (Reidy), Anthony Carroll, Anthony Glick, Ben Quigley, Bobby Yaldwyn, Bruce Hopkins, Chris Chapman, Chris Emery, Corey Oliver, Clint Kimmins, Danny McKell, Daniel McLaughlin, Dean Gladstone, Gavin Stevenson, Greg Bishop, Harrison Reid, Jake Nolan, Jack Curtis, Jackson Doolan, Jesse Polock, Jethro James, Joel Bevilacqua, Juliana Bahr-Thomson, Josh Burke, Kailan Collins, Kristian Yates, Lachlan McArthur, Liam Taylor, Luke Faddy, Mario Marfella, Matt Dee, Max Ayshford, Michael Jenkinson, Quinn Darragh, former surf champion Rod Box, former child soap actor Ryan Clark, Ryan Yerbury, Sam Fleeting, Terry McDermott, Tom Bunting (who is also a Chiropractor), Tommy Frazer, Trent Falson, Trent Maxwell, Troy Quinlan, Wally Eggleton, Will Bigelow and Cooper Wilson. A long list of former lifeguards have also appeared on the show over the years.

Bondi Rescue heros
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Spin-off series

In 2008 a nine-part series, titled ‘Bondi Rescue: Bali’ was aired. The show was set in Bali, Indonesia and followed several Bondi lifeguards stationed in Bali for two months. The lifeguards featured in the show included Dean Gladstone, Andrew Reid, Ryan Clark, Chris Chapman, Tom Bunting, Matt Dee, Aaron and Kobi Gragam and mission chief Terry McDermott. The lifeguards were positioned at Kuta Kuta Beach. During their two month stint, the lifeguards had to deal with a more humid climate, a larger beach, strong surf and a lack of equipment. The beach was touted as the world’s most deadly guarded beach, averaging twelve fatalities each year. The Bondi guards joined a foced on more than one hundred local guards who were supervised by Marcello Arayafaya. The spin-off series did not rate highly and was cancelled after only four episodes. The entire series however was aired overseas.

Bondi Rescue book
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Book series

Bondi Rescue’s popularity led to the development of a book series  based on the show. The first book was published in 2009 and authored by Nick Carroll. The title of the book was ‘Out the back with Bondi Rescue: True Stories behind the hit TV show’. The book was all about the Bondi Lifeguard on the show and was a behind-the-scenes look at the lives and journeys of the lifeguards. The book also investigated the effect that the show had, had on their lives. A second book was released in 2015. This book, titled ‘Stories form the Bondi Lifeguards’ featured some firsthand accounts of the Bondi Lifeguards and their experience on the show. It also includes some memorable moments and behind the scenes information.

Bondi Rescue team
Photo: Channel Ten Australia

Mobile games

A mobile app game for iPhones and iPad was created based on the show. In the game players play as a lifeguard who must keep swimmers in the same area between the flags. Players must also keep beachgoers safe from hazards.

Controversies surrounding Bondi Rescue

He show has come under fire recently over allegations about a toxic culture and unauthorized cash deals. Despite oublicists and lifeguards on the show insisting there are no problems, some reports have suggested that there is an alcohol-fuelled culture and there have been email leaks about five figure endorsement deals which involved an investigation by Waverley council as it would breach their code of conduct. Despite this, the show has enjoyed a relatively clean image since it’s debut.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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