Black Head Surf Life Saving Club has dominated this 2021-22 Surf Lifesaving Australia Lower North Coast (LNC) awards of excellence.
Held at Club Forster last Saturday night, June 25 the annual awards presentation recognises the achievements of more than 400 active patrol members and the contributions to clubs by the 1650 financial members.
These members serve with the six clubs within the branch, Crowdy Head, Taree-Old Bar, Black Head, Forster, Cape Hawke and Pacific Palms.
The branch is the smallest in NSW in terms of membership but covers the longest stretch of coastline.
Following his expressions of gratitude to LNC members and the executives of clubs and the branch itself, retiring branch president, Brian Wilcox highlighted some key statistics for the season.
With nearly 120,000 beach patrons across the six LNC branch beaches during the season, there were 31 rescues, 63 first aid treatments, 1114 preventative actions during the 16,239 life saver hours of rostered beach patrols.
New and continuing members received 2197 surf educations awards.
Despite these figures, there were, tragically, three fatalities which were either on surf club beaches but not during patrol hours or not within the flags during patrols.
Mr Wilcox said following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions there was a large influx of visitors to the region, many who were not familiar with beach safety knowledge and skills.
Subsequently, many of the rescues were necessary on patrolled beaches but outside the iconic red and yellow flags.
In addition, a record number of out of patrol hours ocean rescue emergency call outs were undertaken in addition to assistance in natural disasters.
Thanking major sponsor, Newcastle Permanent Building Society Mr Wilcox acknowledged the backing of the organisation for more than 15 years, and welcomed its offer of another five years support.
Newcastle Permanent guests included mobile lending manager, Craig Fuller and wife, Eleonore and Forster branch manager, Brett Willing and wife, Sharon.
For the 2022-23 surf season, this sponsorship will include free high visibility 'pinky' rash shirts for every nipper in the branch.
He also said during his 10 years as branch president, there had been $10 million dollars of club equipment and grants from the combined support of state and federal governments.
Master of ceremonies, Dave Ellis of the Pacific Palms Club, thanked the retiring president for his long term outstanding service on the executive committees of his club, the LNC branch, and Surf Life Saving NSW.
The recipients of a 2022 Award for Excellence from the Lower North Coast Surf Lifesaving Branch:
In surf sports, the highlight for the branch was the performance of the Sports Team of the Year, the Black Head under 17 Taplin A Team at 'The Aussies' - the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships - held on the Queensland Gold Coast in April, 2022.
Members from Australia's 314 surf clubs come together to compete in more than 480 beach and ocean events.
The Black Head team qualified for the final and finished in a creditable eighth placing.
The Taplin relay is possibly the most prestigious and fiercely contested event in competitive surf life saving.
It's one of the biggest sources of inter-club rivalry, because it's the one event that every club wants to win.
The Taplin highlights the breadth and depth of a club's talent, demanding excellent all-round fitness and ability across the three major disciplines - board, ski and swim.
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