More than 250 guests were on hand to honour Surf Life Saving’s best and bravest at the National Awards of Excellence 2016, held at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Surf lifesavers and dignitaries from around the country gathered to see Pacific Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) take out the prestigious DHL Club of the Year for the work they have done to increase their membership from 242 to 331 over the past season.
Kane Hughes from North Cronulla SLSC was also among the nights winners, being awarded the DHL Lifesaver of the Year. Kane has been an asset to his club holding over 70 awards, being qualified as both a trainer and assessor and completing an extraordinary 1,400 patrol hours.
Other noteworthy awards included The DHL Volunteer of the year that was presented to Daryl Moss from Jan Juc SLSC in Victoria. Daryl was presented this award as well as life membership at his club earlier in the year recognising the massive contribution he has made through various activities including his mentoring and fundraising programs.
Surf Life Saving Australia’s President Graham Ford AM reminded a captivated audience of what the night was all about.
“Recognising achievements and acknowledging, our members.”
Mr Ford told the audience of mostly surf lifesavers, “Your efforts reflect Surf Life Saving’s role as a vital rescue and emergency service. Your actions show how we, as the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the world, have become a valued and beloved organisation to the wider community.”
There was no greater reminder of Mr Ford’s words in the night’s proceedings than the Meritorious awards, which there were a grand total of 11 awarded, two with Silver Inserts, the highest level of bravery award.
One of the Meritorious Awards with Silver Insert was awarded to David Cummings from Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club in Victoria for rescuing three swimmers caught in a rip. That day David wasn’t on patrol, but on his work lunch break, luckily near his surf life saving club and near the incident. Thanks to David’s quick act of bravery, the three went home safely.
The second Meritorious Award with Silver Insert was awarded to Rick Walden, Keith McReynolds and John Molnar from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service (Sydney and Moruya) for an extremely brave rescue they completed in challenging weather conditions. It was also the tenth emergency call they had completed in just two days. The physical and mental strength shown by this team was second to none.
The quality of all award recipients on the night is testament to the organisation.
List of Awards and recipients from the night:
Lifesaver of the Year Kane Hughes, North Cronulla SLSC, NSW
Kane is currently Vice Captain and Patrol Captain at North Cronulla, spending his patrol hours mentoring young SRC and Bronze Medallion holders. Kane himself holds an impressive 70+ awards, being a qualified Trainer and Assessor with 12 years of experience completing over 1400 patrol hours. His contribution to the Surf Life Saving Sydney Support Operations Group is evident, also being on a Duty Officer roster where he attends major incident callouts, along with attending carnivals as an Official, Water Safety Coordinator and Emergency Services Officer.
DHL Volunteer of the Year Daryl Moss, Jan Juc SLSC, VIC
Daryl has played a key role in supporting club activities across all areas of the club. Daryl was awarded Life Membership at his club in recognition of his 20 years of service. He has taken on a new role as Club Training Mentor Manager in order to enhance the level of retention of younger members. He created the leadership pathways which encourages younger members (U21) to take on leadership roles. Daryl raises significant funds and also sponsors major fundraising events, providing substantial resources and products through his own company.
DHL Club of the Year Pacific Surf Life Saving Club
Pacific SLSC this season through effective recruiting strategies, aligned with sustainment has seen overall membership increase from 242 to 331. One of Pacific’s key priorities is connecting with their members to recruit and retain members and to development and recognise their skills and knowledge. The club has a clear focus on leadership and planning for future leaders. Pacific is about the development of all members in all facets of Surf Life Saving and focusses on the club being an inclusive place for everyone.
DHL Lifeguard of the Year Shane Bevan, Australian Lifeguard Services, QLD
Shane has played a key role in mentoring and acting as a role model to the younger lifeguards across the Sunshine Coast. Since obtaining his Cert IV in Training and Assessment in 2014, Shane has become one of the ALS-QLD RWC trainers responsible for the training and assessment of all new lifeguards employed in the Sunshine Coast region. Outside of his patrols Shane is also actively involved with the World Surfing League completing water safety patrols for events such as the Quicksilver Pro since 2001.
Official of the Year Wayne Druery, Cronulla SLSC, NSW
Wayne is the Director of Surf Sports at Surf Life Saving Sydney, having a prominent impact over the past 10 years, since being appointed the referee of Kellogg’s Nutri Grain Series 2016/17 onwards. He was also the deputy referee at Kellogg’s Nutri Grain Trials and Series, along with being Head Referee for SLSNSW State Age Championships. Wayne has international officiating experience representing SLSNSW at the New Zealand Pool Rescue Championships.
Coach of the Year Ryan Hoffman, Kurrawa SLSC, QLD
Ryan is acknowledged as the ‘team spirit’ that is Kurrawa Kraken Beach Athletics, coaching a variety of individuals who have made the national teams for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Netherlands, Great Britain and Japan in just the last 12 months. He is also the long term coach of the Gold medallists in the Australian Open Male and Female Beach Sprint. Ryan has a diverse history in coaching, previously holding the position of Beach Coach for the Australian Lifesaving Team.
Youth Athlete of the Year Jemma Smith, Umina SLSC, NSW
Jemma has had a successful year not only making the Australian Youth Team for World Titles, but also being named Captain. She also broke the Australian record in the 100 meter Manikin tow with fins at Aussie Pool Rescue Championships, came first in the U17 Ski at the Australian National Championships and was awarded Female Competitor of the Carnival for The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships 2016.
Athlete of the Year Shannon Eckstein, BMD Northcliffe SLSC, QLD
Shannon has had a successful year winning his 8th Australian Ironman Title and his 9th Kellogg’s Ironman Series, for which he won 5 out of 6 rounds. His dominance here shows why he is regarded as the greatest Ironman Competitor ever. At the Australian Championships he placed first in Open Ironman, Open Male Surf Race, Open Male Surf Teams and second in the Open Male Ski Relay. Shannon has recently taken the position of Director of High Performance at BMD Northcliffe, and remains a member of the club’s Surf Sport committee and the club’s Leadership Group.
Trainer of the Year Kimberley Gee, Venus Bay SLSC, VIC
Kimberley has made a positive impact at Venus Bay SLSC, being responsible for increasing award attainment by a staggering 194%. The club now has 81 actively patrolling members, with 69 members achieving 179 awards during the 2015/16 season. Kimberly has been awarded the Trainer of the year for her contributions to training and education, with particular reference to the implementation of modified training programs to cater for members with learning disabilities.
Assessor of the Year Anne-Marie Widermanski, Mullaloo SLSC, WA
Anne-Marie has been involved in SLS training and assessing since the early 1990’s and is currently involved at all club, state and community levels, with additional input into national committees. Her commitment has been shown through her efforts to travel to the Northern Territory each year to provide training and assessment support to the small teams in Broome and Surf Life Saving Northern Territory.
Community Education Program of the Year Carlton Park SLSC Surf Festival, Carlton Park, TAS
The annual Carlton Park SLSC Surf Festival is a community based event held on Carlton Beach and surrounds. Now in its fifth year, the festival incorporates a number of events aimed at promoting surf awareness, showcasing Tasmanian talents in surf sports, providing health and fitness opportunities and improving overall community engagement with surf lifesaving. Carlton Park SLSC Festival was celebrated in 2015 as the Community Event of the Year by the Sorell Council Australia Day Awards.
List of Meritorious Awards:
Certificate of Merit with Silver Insert David Cumming, Venus Bay SLSC
Certificate of Merit with Silver Insert Westpac Life Saving Rescue Helicopter
Individual Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert Saul Duran, Ballina SLSC
Group Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert North Bondi SLSC
Certificate of Merit with Bronze Insert Macksville Scotts Head SLSC
Individual Certificate of Merit Debrah Cheers, Fingal Rovers SLSC
Individual Certificate of Merit Adam Williams, Fingal Rovers SLSC
Individual Certificate of Merit Chris Dennis, Fingal Rovers and Currumbin SLSC
Individual Certificate of Merit Anthony Atkins
Individual Certificate of Merit Denver Brown, Wamberal SLSC
Group Certificate of Merit Avoca SLSC
Group Certificate of Merit Bulli SLSC
Group Certificate of Merit Noosa Heads SLSC
Group Certificate of Merit Lachlan & Sean O’Reilly, Coffs Harbour SLSC