Surf Studio: Nic Canales
On the latest episode of Surf Studio, we head down South to chat to Tasmanian Lifesaver of the Year, Nic Canales from Penguin SLSC, who was recently involved in the marine rescue efforts off the coast of West Tasmania to save hundreds of beached whales.
Nic started his surf lifesaving journey at the age of 14, and now six years and over 60 awards and qualifications later, he’s involved in nearly every aspect of the club from training and assessing to driving IRB’s, surf boats and being both the Lifesaving Manager and Chief Training Officer at Penguin SLSC.
“This is my third year as a Lifesaving Manager. I do what I can around the club, not necessarily just lifesaving. I chip in where I can, offer advice and leadership,” Nic said.
“I really do have a great passion in training and assessing and trying to develop our members, our younger kids and the organisation as a whole… I’m always trying to deliver the best courses I can to get their foot in the door and give them a good start in our organisation.”
Nic is also involved at state level with Surf Life Saving Tasmania in the Flood Water Rescue and SLS Marine Search operations. He talked to us about his recent involvement in the marine rescue efforts to save hundreds of beached whales on the west coast of Tasmania.
“Heading down I wasn’t quite sure what our role would be and how involved we might be, because obviously it’s quite a different task… But quickly we provided an advanced capability that they found invaluable,” Nic said of getting the call up from SLS Tasmania for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife rescue operation.
“Quite a few times especially in the first few days when the whales were still coming into the harbour, they were in really inaccessible places that only our IRB’s and our skilful drivers could get into… we were able to manage to save a lot more whales that way or prevent them from beaching themselves again.
“That was terrific to get down there and help and use our skills in a different way than the typical rescues, but it was also good to get out in the community and promote surf lifesaving and how we are adaptable and can operate in many different environments, not just on our beaches doing rescues.”
Nic’s unrivalled dedication and passion has led him to receive a number of distinguished awards. Alongside the Surf Life Saving Tasmania (SLST) and Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) Youth Lifesaver of the Year awards he won in 2018, Nic was recently recognised as SLST’s Life Saver of the Year for 2020 and is now in the running for SLSA’s Life Saver of the Year for 2020.
“It’s an incredible feeling. I’m sure like everyone else, we don’t do it for the awards. It is terrific to receive the recognition and it really does keep the motivation and the spark going to do more and do better,” Nic said.
“Whenever I conduct myself or try and do anything in lifesaving or even life in general, I always try to make a difference so when I walk away I can say ‘yep, I’ve made a difference there, I’ve made a mark and left a legacy.’ That’s my goal.”
Surf Studio is regular online show with each episode featuring stories from around Australia and covering a range of topics such as sport, lifesaving, leadership, education etc and Surf Life Saving Australia encourages everyone to be involved. If you, or anyone you know has a story that you would like to share via Surf Studio please email email@example.com