A 50m swimming pool at Fistral beach was part of the bid
A Cornish resort could lose a major international lifesaving event because it does not have a 50m swimming pool.
Newquay is due to host The Surf Life Saving World Championships in 2010 for more than 4,000 competitors.
But organisers said they may have to go elsewhere after failing to find £750,000 to pay for an Olympic-size pool at Fistral Beach.
Cornwall County Council said it was "disappointed" but did not think was a suitable use of taxpayers' money.
A 50m pool is required for the competition.
As there is not one anywhere in Cornwall, Surf Life Saving GB had planned to borrow a temporary pool from the Olympic Development Authority.
But the organisation has struggled to find the £750,000 needed to transport and install the pool. It blamed the "difficult economic climate".
It means the event may have to be moved to a town where there is already a suitable pool.
Adam Wooler, acting chief executive of Surf Life Saving GB, said: "Unless about £750,000 could be found from the private sector to fund a pool being put up on a temporary basis, we will be forced to take the competition elsewhere.
"We're very sad, Cornwall is the home of life-saving."
Surf Life Saving GB said it would prefer a permanent pool to be built.
It said funding could be sought from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Sport England's new "swimming fund", but Cornwall County Council would need to take the lead in bidding for cash.
Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall County Council's executive member for economy, said: "I am extremely disappointed that Surf Life Saving GB are seeking to move the event outside of Cornwall.
He said the original bid to hold the competition was "not contingent" on the council being responsible for the provision, operation or "legacy" of a 50m pool.
"We feel it is not the best use of taxpayers' money to plug holes in the Rescue 2010 operational budget," he added.
Mr Wooler said a final decision about holding the event in Newquay would have to be made by Christmas.
The first Surf Life Saving World Championships were held in 1994 at Newquay and Cardiff, and they are now held biannually.
In that time, the event has grown in size from about 1,000 to about 4,000 athletes.