Larry's Watchful Eye

Whether they’re junior, opens or master athletes battling the wind and waves at the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships at Ocean Beach-Umina, a familiar face was out on the water watching their every move.

Nobby’s Larry Henare has spent the past fortnight on the Central Coast for his 16th tour of duty at the State Championships as a water safety volunteer.

The 65-year-old clubbie spends his days at the event manning the inflatable rescue boat (IRB) as part of a rotational roster, and he takes his responsibility of keeping the competitors safe seriously.

“I come back each year because I love the mateship and there are a lot of people here that I’ve known over the years,” he said.

“The compound is always quite relaxed throughout Age Championships but when it comes around to the Masters and Opens then it gets really crowded.”

After spending so much time on the water during the state’s pinnacle of surf sport competition, he is in a fair position to pass judgment on the conditions.

“The conditions this year aren’t anything compared to what I’ve experienced in past State Championships,” Mr Henare said.

But it’s seeing the youngsters perform and enjoying their on the biggest stage that gives him an enormous amount of pleasure.

“I’m the only person here from Nobbys at Age Champs because they don’t have a young team. I’m also helping out Redhead and a few other clubs as well.

“I enjoying seeing the young ones out there competing and being an old bloke seeing them group up is a highlight of volunteering,” he said.

It’s mid-morning on the final day of the championships and as the sun is trying to break through the gloom the outline of the IRB’S patiently patrolling the competition area can be seen.

Larry Henare is out there somewhere keeping a watchful eye on the competitors, probably with a grin on his face loving every moment of being a volunteer.

Photograph: Larry Henare at the compound during the 2015 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships at Ocean Beach-Umina.

Mon 16 Mar 2015