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of Excellence tonight.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, SLSA memberscame together online for the 2020 event to present 13 awards across thelifesaving, sport and education categories for their outstanding service totheir communities.

Surf Life Saving Australia CEO Adam Weir said,“Each year our members give up more than 1 million hours of their time to keepour beaches safe, and the Awards of Excellence allows us to recognise ourmembers for their commitment to their communities, and dedication to ensuringwe keep our coastlines safe.

“We know the contribution our surf lifesavingcommunity makes to Australia is significant, with the recent Deloitte EconomicImpact Report valuing services provided by our members at $6.5billion peryear. Our organisation has grown to bemore than just the lifesaving services people see on our beaches – we provideeducation and training to everyday Australians, help keep people physicallyactive, encourage and promote volunteerism and deliver real social value tolocal communities across the country. Tonight was our opportunity to recognise this significant work.

“Our members’ contributions extend beyond thebeach, and in a year that has presented many challenges it has been inspiringto see our members remain dedicated in the pursuit of safety in theircommunities. From bushfires to floods,our clubs have gone above and beyond to help their local areas and keep peoplesafe.

“On behalf of Surf Life Saving I wish tocongratulate all our Award winners as well as the finalists from across the country,”he said.

Neil John from North Queensland’s Sarina SLSCtook out the prestigious DHL Surf Lifesaver of the Year for his outstandingleadership as both Club Captain and President, and hard work to boost memberengagement at his club. Fellow QueenslanderBelinda Doman was awarded DHL Volunteer of the Year, with Tasmania’s PenguinSLSC named as DHL Club of the Year.

After a breakout season claiming her maidenCoolangatta Gold title and 2019-20 Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series crown, NoosaHeads’ Lana Rogers took out Surf Sports Athlete of the Year.

SLSA was also proud to induct three new members to the Hall ofFame, former Ironman champion Darren Mercer (Noosa Heads SLSC), InternationalLifesaving President Graham Ford AM (Bronte SLSC) and former beach sprint champion Elly Miller (Elouera SLSC).

SLSAwould like to thank our Major National Partners DHL, Holden and Westpac fortheir continued support and, the Queensland Government through Tourism andEvents Queensland, the Strategic Partner of the SLSA Awards of Excellence, fortheir unwavering support.

DHL Clubof the Year: Penguin SLSC

Penguin SLSC’s continuedcommitment to delivering on their five year strategic plan has seen them notonly exceed their life saving requirements but also their engagement with thebroader local community. This has been possible through increased membernumbers which allows for roving patrols, facilitating and strengthening theirconnection with the local school, sending quadruple the number of Nippers toStates and tripled their number of advanced award holders, all with only 174members. Adding to this, the Club has provided clear pathways for all membersto become better life savers and at the same time working with fellow clubs inthe area to deliver valuable community education activities.

DHL Surf Lifesaver of the Year: Neil John (Sarina SLSC)

Presidentand Club Captain of Sarina Surf Life Saving Club in North Queensland, Neil Johnhas worked tirelessly to improve the club’s lifesaving presence on the beachand increase member engagement, with junior membership increasing by 30%. A qualified Queensland Paramedic and returned veteran, Neil has taken hisleadership skills from his professional career to ensure Sarina continues tobring through the next generation of surf lifesavers for the region. Working with the Queensland Government and local councils, he was alsoinstrumental in spearheading the support services the Club provided duringCyclone Debbie recovery.

DHL Volunteer of the Year:Belinda Doman (Coolangatta SLSC)

Belinda holds13 volunteer positions and leadership roles within her club including patrolcaptain, chief training officer, awards committee and lifesaving membershipcommittee. In addition she holds a further 5 positions at a Branch level andsits on 2 Surf Life Saving Queensland committees. Training is Belinda’s passionand she spends countless hours developing an extensive training calendar togive members opportunities to gain new awards. Belinda is a natural leader whocontinuously gives to her club. She leads from the front and believes actionsspeak louder than words.

DHLLifeguard of the Year: Corey Jones

Since starting his careeras a Lifeguard in 2003, Corey has developed into not only a great Lifeguard,but also a great leader and team player. The former Ironman champion hascreated a positive and healthy environment for all who work in his area, and hedoes this by leading by example. On quite days he ensures all lifeguards arerescue ready by initiating scenarios as training exercises. Corey is also avalued member of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and is always first toput his hand up to help around the hanger.

YouthLifesaver of the Year: Campbell Shaw (North Cottesloe SLSC)

Campbell is anexperienced surf lifesaver, trainer and patrol captain who made his mark as anemerging leader within North Cottesloe SLSC during the 2019/20 season. As wellas achieving his Bronze Medallion, Campbell successfully initiated a new community service program thisyear, introducing year 10 students to surf lifesaving, generating interest andincreasing North Cottesloe’s community involvement and presence. Campbell works tirelessly in the backgroundto improve lifesaving and education at the club, and is a strong role model.

Trainerof the Year: Bernadette Flint (Mullaloo SLSC)

Bernadette’scommitment to Mullaloo and neighbouring club, Yanchep is shown through hertraining and skills development of others. Implementing a Youth Trainers program, mentoring fellow members allowingthem to follow a training pathway and offering the wider community first aidand CPR are just a few of the many initiatives Bernadette has been involvedwith. Travelling to Bali with theMullaloo Education team for the past five years, she has gained herInternational Trainers and Assessors Certificates with ILS. Since taking on therole as the club’s Education Manager at the end of 2019, Bernadette hasdemonstrated her ability, with Club members requalifying in over 600 awards,and attaining 331 new awards.

CommunityEducation Program of the Year: Multicultural Surf & Beach Safety Program(Fremantle SLSC)

Developedto help familiarise immigrants with the beach, its inherent dangers and whothey can ask for help, Fremantle SLSC has conducted beach safety sessions fornewly arrived migrants since 2014. Many immigrants with limited English camefrom countries with no familiarity of a beach environment. The program hasdeveloped over the past five years changing the lives of the participants andproviding water awareness and confidence. An unexpected impact has been onyounger Fremantle members, keen to demonstrate their lifesaving skills, theyenthusiastically became the ‘leaders’ of the water program. They have also learned of the hardships andjourneys of the students, whilst embracing different cultures.

Innovationof the Year: Australian Defence Force (ADF) Pilot Bronze Medallion Course(North Bondi SLSC)

FormerNorth Bondi President Mark Cotter became aware of the issues ADF members facedtransitioning from service to civilian life. Seeking advice from Veteran Sports Australia and commissioned Officersat Victoria Barracks, the ADF Pilot Bronze Course was conceived. Trainers, Assessors and Facilitators fromNorth Bondi and Bronte collaborated to focus on identifying participants’existing skill sets and emergency response techniques. The course was fasttracked as a result and participants quickly became rescue ready for the beachenvironment. The impact of the program has been extremely positive for each ofthe candidates, creating a sense of camaraderie and new networks outside of theADF. It is envisaged this initiativewill help suicide prevention within the veteran community by providing themissing link some ADF members face when leaving the service.

Assessorof the Year: Graham Sharpe (Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC)

Graham’sexcellence in assessing is demonstrated by consistently acting as an Assessorin Charge at assessments across the entire SLS suite of courses including:bronze, silver and gold medallion, emergency care and powercraft. Graham recognises leadership involvesdevelopment of people and continues to mentor trainers, assessors andfacilitators at Swanbourne Nedlands and others along the WA coastline.Continued service since the 2003/04 season, Graham has an impressive 138 surflifesaving awards many of which relate to education, training and assessment.

Surf SportsAthlete of the Year: Lana Rogers (Noosa Heads SLSC)

Lanahad a phenomenal 2019/20 season placing first in the Nutri-Grain IronWomanSeries after winning four of the five series rounds. To kick off her season shetook out first place in the Coolangatta Gold and claimed her maiden title.Coached by former Ironman Champion Darren Mercer and Sharlene Kelly, Lana is anextremely focused, determined athlete and role model, assisting with nippersessions, sponsorship breakfasts and is always encouraging young athletes atthe club. Lana continues to show support to her peers and the broaderLifesaving community.

SurfSports Youth Athlete of the Year: Connor Peabody (Kurrawa SLSC)

Connorexperienced great results during the 2019/20 season, clocking the fastest timefor the Coolangatta Gold Short Course in the U19 & Opens categories. Heplaced first at the QLD 2k swim endurance event and won two gold medals at theSLSA Pool Rescue Championships. Connor is a valued member of Kurrawa assistingwith Nipper training, school holiday camps and delivering Surf Safety Talks.

SurfSports Official of the Year: Tamara Brawn (Point Leo SLSC)

Tamara isa fair, positive, dedicated and highly skilled role model for officiating insurf life saving. The first and only female Referee to lead a national surfboat carnival, the ASRL Open held at Mollymook, and was Referee for theNational Surf Boat Team selection event. Tamara is a representative on the SLSASurf Boat Panel and Lifesaving Victoria Aquatic Sports Executive. Tamara embodiesthe values and dedication of modern surf life saving.

SurfSports Coach of the Year: Andrew Ridley (Sorrento SLSC)

Andrew is three-timeSLSWA Coach of the Year Winner, an Age Manager and accredited Pool Rescue andSwim/Surf Coach for Sorrento SLSC. Developing high performance athletes atState, National and International level with a high retention and level ofperformance, Andrew prides himself on representing the club and Surf LifeSaving, developing strong relationships with athletes and presenting a positiveimage as coach and mentor for new and upcoming coaches.


EllyMiller, Elouera SLSC, NSW

SurfLifesaving – Sport

Over a period of nine years between 2006and 2015 Elly won a total of 13 Australian Championship Gold Medals in beachevents, including 10 individual Gold Medals, plus 6 Silver and 3 Bronze medals.In 2008 Elly was named the Most Outstanding Female Competitor of the AustralianSurf Life Saving Championships. Elly’s record at both a State and Australianlevel is one to be envied. What is not obvious with her record is thedifficulty of maintaining a consistent level of success as both a BeachSprinter and also a Beach Flag competitor, a feat that has not been matched bymany others. Elly has had an outstanding career at the highest level of SLSAsport competition and is well-regarded by her peers for her professionalism andwillingness to help others.

DarrenMercer OAM, Noosa Heads SLSC, QLD

SurfLifesaving – Sport

Darren has had a long and illustriouscareer in Surf Life Saving over many years as an exemplary athlete and morerecently a successful coach of a number of Australian champions. Darren startedhis competition career in NSW, gaining Austinmer’s first ever Australian goldmedal in the U18 ironman. Darren also competed with success in the CoolangattaGold winning two consecutive years. Darren was selected to represent Australiaon five different occasions. During the late 1980’s Darren dominated theKellogg’s Nutri Grain series for a period of eight years. Darren moved to NoosaHeads as Head Coach, a position he still holds today. He has achieved successwith athletes on both Australian and International stages, including theCoolangatta Gold and the Nutri Grain Iron Series.

GrahamFord AM, Bronte SLSC, NSW

SurfLifesaving – Administration

Graham started his distinguished careerin surf lifesaving as a Nipper parent at Bronte in 1985. Gaining his bronzemedallion in 1992 he maintained a 100% patrol record at Bronte for over 28years. Graham was recognised at Branch level as both Volunteer of the Year andMember of the Year. He was further recognised at State level as Volunteer ofthe year in 2006. Graham has numerous state and branch awards as well as over120 national awards including SLSA Life Membership in 2017. Throughout theperiod 2016-2019 Graham lobbied and met on numerous occasions with seniorFederal Government Ministers including the Prime Minister, Treasurer and theAttorney General to secure a commitment to multi-year funding of Water Safetyin Australia. In 2014 Graham initiated the establishment of a “Corpus Fund” forSurf Life Saving Australia to raise $20 million by 2020 to ensure the futuresustainability of the Movement.