Bulli Surf Life Saving Club
Bulli Surf Life Saving Club

Around The Club


Russ Jones & Chris Mercer given special pride of place on new surfboat

Sunday 13 October saw our new surf boat christened at Bulli Beach.

Close to 60 members & guests were in attendance to witness the official proceedings conducted by President Keith Caldwell & Father Ken Cafe (Surf Life Saving Illawara Chaplain & Thirroul SLSC patrolling member).

Congratulations to Stu Brown from Browlec Industries who won the naming rights draw and passed up the opportunity and decided to name the boat after 2 members of the club who are rowing & sweep legends, namely Chris Mercer & Rus Jones.

Special mention of Aspirations Graphics for their outstanding sponsors design coverage on the boat. 

A brief history of the two gentlemen;  

Chris Mercer

When you think about Merc's record, there is no other rower who has the breadth of success he has across short course and long course.  Yes, there are rowers who have won multiple open boat national titles but they haven't done the long course nor do they have the record to match in long course.  Merc is the "complete" rower.

  • He has competed in every George Bass that Bulli has competed in - 13.  Will compete in his 14th in 2014 (if selected - ha, ah) at the age of 60.
  • Various other Marathon victories including Outback Surf Boat Marathon, Sydney Harbour Marathon (2 times) and Pier One marathons
  • Has been part of dominant Bulli "A" crews spanning 3 decades - 70's, 80's, & 90's.
  • Australian Open boat Medallist 1976 (3rd), 1977 (2nd) and Gold in 1978 and medal winner u19's and finalist in Open Boat 1991 and 1993 (at age 39)
  • NSW Open Boat 1st place 1991 and multiple State medals in Open Boat and across various divisions
  • NSW State Team representative Open Boat 1989
  • Australian Team Representative 1991 Trans Tasman Test against NZ
  • Multiple Stints as Boat Captain
  • Inducted into NSW Surf Rowers League Hall of Fame
  • Life Member of Bulli Surf Life Saving Club

Russ Jones

Russ's prominence has been well documented.  So much so his son Paul has seen many a commentator call him "Russ" during Paul's early sweeping career, some 15 years after Russ's retirement. Russ commenced sweeping at 18 and virtually dominated the scene for the next 33 years.

  • Boat Captain – around 10years
  • Accumulated 100 surf boat wins - labelled "The Don" of Surf Boats
  • George Bass marathon - 1979, winner of 7 legs, the first by any crew (I think, may be Cronulla 1975,  I will check with Rod)
  • Won 4 medals in the Open Boat at Australian Championships including Gold in 1978. Multiple medallist and finalist across all divisions
  • NSW Championships - Multiple medallist including Open Boat Gold in 1968
  • NSW State Team 3 times - 1968, 1981, 1989
  • To many Branch Medals and titles to count
  • To many Illawarra Branch Rep teams to list accurately 
  • Inducted into the Australian Surf Rowers League Hall of Fame 
  • Life Member of Bulli Surf Life Saving Club

Our current Men's A crew under the guidance of Paul Jones (son of Russ) took the new South Coast surf boat out to test the waters.

Members of both the Jones & Mercer families were in attendance. 

After the official proceedings those in attendance gathered in the club rooms for refreshments & food. A large crowd then attended Bulli Workers Club to celebrate the day's activities.

Keith and Maria Caldwell