Surf Life Saving Australia
and the Lorne Surf Life Saving
Club are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.
The writ claims treatment administered by the unnamed first-aid officers constituted "unlawful assault and battery".
She alleges the St John Ambulance
staff were negligent in causing or permitting injury to her during treatment.
Ms Cambourne claims to have suffered permanent shoulder damage, ongoing pain and discomfort, a loss of motion and nervous shock.
The qualified exercise physiologist is understood to have needed several operations.
Her solicitor, Barrie Woollacott, of Slater & Gordon, said yesterday the case was unusual and raised an interesting principle.
"If people are going to provide first aid it's important they don't step beyond their capabilities in circumstances where it might make matters worse," he said.
Ms Cambourne did not wish to speak publicly about the lawsuit.
St John Ambulance chief executive Stephen Horton said the charity had not yet been served with legal paperwork.
"We are unaware of the action at this time and so cannot comment," he said.
Surf Life Saving Australia spokesman Sean O'Connell said he could not comment specifically on the pending case, but he said all SLSA events operated under a stringent risk management framework, including provision of trained volunteer water safety and first aid officers.