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Camaraderie a key element

Posted at 4:19pm Wednesday 18 Nov, 2020

The best part of joining surf lifesaving is becoming part of a much bigger family – a family that wants to help others. That's according to Ōrewa's chair of lifesaving, Tom Burgess, who has been an Ōrewa club member since 2004 when he came to New Zealand from the UK on a lifeguard exchange.

“While my taste for surf lifesaving competition may have dwindled over the years, I have remained a lifeguard and have been involved regionally and nationally in lifesaving services,” he says.

Tom says that while you don't need to be even remotely close to being an Olympic athlete to be a lifeguard, fitness helps in getting to a patient quickly.

“A lot of the training covers rescue techniques, first aid and CPR, and how to use the rescue boats.

“But lifesavers also learn a wealth of leadership and teamwork skills that are fantastic to take into the rest of their lives. Most of the courses are funded through hard work in fundraising and from some of our fantastic sponsors.”

Last summer, despite the shortened season due to Covid-19, Ōrewa Surf Club members put in nearly 3300 volunteer hours, performed five rescues, 13 searches, administered first aid to 102 people and took 439 preventative actions.

The club has 175 active lifeguards and patrol support, as well as many more volunteers working in the background to help keep the club running.

This summer, club members will compete in junior, senior and masters northern regional championships, as well as national championships.

At those competitions, events include swimming, running, board paddling, surf ski paddling, surf boat rowing and canoe paddling.

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