Pacific Palms SLSC member Jerrad Allen said it was a shock to be named 2019 Lifesaver of the Year for the Lower North Coast Branch, but after speaking to him about his involvement in the organisation, it hardly seemed surprising.
Apart from his commitment as a regular patrolling lifesaver, Jerrad trains fellow club members in inflatable rescue boat operations and advanced aquatic rescue, is an age manager at nippers, and has started training those undertaking their bronze medallions and surf rescue certificates.
Then there's the high stakes responsibility he takes on as a primary responder for the Lower North Coast Branch's support operations, which often sees him coming to the rescue of ocean-users who find themselves in dangerous situations.
A father of five, Jerrad admits it can be a challenge balancing these extra activities alongside work and family commitments, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
He joined Forster SLSC as an eight-year-old nipper and spent the next 10 years gaining valuable surf skills, before leaving the area.
He then joined Pacific Palms SLSC when he moved to Pacific Palms eight years ago and has been a member ever since.
I spent a lot of time at the beach as a kid in all different swells and I'm still here.Jerrad Allen
While there's much he enjoys about being involved in surf club - including the camaraderie and active lifestyle - there are two reasons in particular why he dedicates so much time to the organisation.
The first is the educational side of it - the fact it's equipped him and so many others with the skills to keep people safe around the water.
To Jerrad, nothing comes close to surf life saving in this regard, and it's the reason why four of his five children have been through the organisation, with his three-year-old son already earmarked for a future in nippers once he's old enough.
With the beaches around the Great Lakes attracting such a high volume of tourists each year, Jerrad believes it's important they're kept relatively safe.
He was involved in six rescues over the 2018/19 summer alone, and recently pulled two fishers from the sea who'd been swept off rocks at Seagull Point.
You do get a big adrenaline rush. I don't look for the rescues or hope another one is going to happen. I'd rather no rescues.Jerrad Allen
The second reason he dedicates so much time to surf life saving, and to other community events such as the Vikings Challenge, is because it allows him to give back.
While this is an often quoted phrase, it means a lot to Jerrad.
"Giving back to the community - I'm a believer in that," he said.
"People before me gave up their time to help me achieve my sporting and lifesaving achievements and I feel I should be giving back."
He points to his family as influences in this regard, with the 41-year-old remembering his pop, his uncle and his mum all being involved in various sporting and community organisations as a child.
Jerrad estimates he'll be involved in his youngest son's development through the surf club ranks for at least the next 15 years, by which time he'll probably have grandchildren to introduce to the movement as well.
"I don't see myself leaving any time soon," he admitted.
But despite the hectic schedule, despite the stress of responding to life or death situations, despite believing there are people more deserving of the lifesaver of the year title than himself, he doesn't mind this fact.
Being around the water, staying active and giving back to the community all come with their own rewards, and he's happy to admit he leads a good life.
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