Ken Vidler

Surf Lifesaving | Inducted: 1995

Born Perth W.A.
28 April, 1954

One of five brothers who grew up in Scarborough and competed with success in the surf, Ken Vidler was Australia's most-decorated surf lifesaving representative when he retired from top-level competition. He won more than 50 medals in a career that spanned 23 years at junior and senior level. His major successes included one world title and seven Australian senior championships.

After switching form pool swimming to surf competition, Vidler joined the Scarboro Surf Lifesaving Club in 1967. He won the Australian junior iron man titles in 1971 and 1972, adding the single ski crown to his list in 1972.

On graduating to senior ranks he won the first of three Australian iron man titles at Burleigh Heads, Queensland, in 1973. He claimed his second iron man crown at Dee Why, Sydney, in 1975 when he also won the first of four national ski titles. He completed the Australian iron man and single ski title double at Clifton Beach, Tasmania, in 1976.

At the World Championships in South Africa, Vidler won the single ski, was runner-up in the iron man and finished second in the ski event with Murray Braund.

He contested the 1978 and 1979 World Canoeing Championships, finishing fourth in the four-man kayak final (1000m) and fifth in the single ski (10,000m) in 1979. He went to the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games as a member of the Australian four-man kayak team that finished eighth.

His national championship included four double surf ski titles, with brother Colin, and five ski relay victories. In 15 years Vidler won 10 individual Australian titles and had 10 placings as well as nine Australian team titles and eight team placings.

Vidler was selected in five Australian teams from 1971 to 1985, competing in South Africa, Europe and New Zealand. On the 75th anniversary of the Australian surf lifesaving movement in 1983, he was officially acknowledged as the nation's most decorated competitor. At State level Vidler won 29 individual titles, including eight successive iron man championships, the first two after winning the junior iron man event as well.

He showed his versatility by winning the Australian championship in white water canoeing, the down river single kayak event, at Harvey in 1978.