Profile of the Month: Naida Guy

Our Profile of the Month for June is Naida Guy from Kiama Downs SLSC. The very proud surf lifesaver joined 22 years ago and in that time has performed a host of roles at the club, and almost as importantly, met her husband. Naida encourages everyone to dream big and never give up.

The mother of two is an integral part of the highly successful Kiama Downs IRB racing team which recently won its sixth consecutive Premiership Series and is looking forward to the State Championships this weekend. Read more about Naida Guy below.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and what appealed to you about it?

I first joined as an Under 6 nipper and I always loved going on a Sunday morning. I re-joined when I was 15 years old and obtained my Bronze Medallion. I loved the friendships I made and the great community spirit that the surf club environment provided. I developed friendships with people from all walks of life and all ages, and there was a sense of family and belonging. I am still friends with many of the people I met 22 years ago when I first joined, including my wonderful husband, Steven ‘Skip’ Guy.

What are the key lessons that you’ve learnt from your time in Surf Life Saving?

Probably the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that pushing myself past my comfort zone is a good thing and a great life lesson: that failure and fear are not a reason to quit, they are reason to push harder and never give up.

Also that giving back to the community is very satisfying, and providing people (both adults and children) with skills and confidence in the ocean is very rewarding.

Tell us about your time in Surf Life Saving and what roles you have undertaken.

I have been an active patrolling member for the past 22 years. I have been Patrol Captain, Age Manager, Competition Coordinator, Member Service Officer, Fundraising Committee, Publicity Officer and a member of the Kiama Downs IRB Racing team for 22 years.

You were recently selected in the NSW IRB Interstate Team and also won the IRB Premiership with Kiama Downs. Describe both of those moments.

Winning the Premiership for the sixth straight season was a very emotional experience. We are a small club from a very small community and it has taken us many many years to get to the level we are at. We are definitely punching above our weight when it comes to getting these results.

When I started 22 years ago and for the next 10 years we didn't even make finals day. We worked hard, dreamed big and never gave up. So it’s an absolute honour to be part of what this little team is achieving now. To be selected on the NSW Interstate team is an absolute privilege, and to be alongside 11 of my other team mates from Kiama Downs is just amazing.

Describe Kiama Downs SLSC and its members.

Kiama Downs is a small surf club, full of amazing people and families all willing to step up and make our club awesome. Over and above having a strong IRB team, we have grown in nipper numbers and increased the numbers of people patrolling. Our club is like one big family.

What was your highlight of the 2016/17 season?

Winning an Australian gold medal in the IRB Relay with my husband and team was definitely the best thing. I was the anchor leg of the race, so driving back to shore watching my team celebrate is a memory and feeling that will stay with me forever. It was the greatest moment in my Surf Life Saving career and will be hard to beat. I was very blessed to have that moment and I get emotional now thinking about it.

What are your goals within Surf Life Saving?

My goal is to try and make it the best I can. To do whatever I have to do in my power to make my club and my sport the best it can be. I have two daughters coming through nippers and I want them to have the same and even better experiences than I have had.

What has been your best memory so far as a surf lifesaver?

Meeting my husband was definitely the best memory and along with him we have had so many wonderful memories from our years in the organisation, it is hard to pick just one. I have met so many amazing people who are now part of my life and with them we continue to make memories with our families that are now part of the Surf Life Saving world.

Who is someone you admire in the Surf Life Saving movement and why?

Definitely my husband, Skip. He is the reason I am so passionate about Surf Life Saving and Kiama Downs Surf Club. He does way more than me and has been doing it way longer than me. He is driven to always make our club better and works hard in all levels of the club to make this happen. He has always told me “We are the Club” which has taught me, that if I want something then I need to step up and make it happen. He is a very dedicated surf lifesaver and no job is too hard or annoying for him to do.

Favourite beach that isn’t yours?

This is a hard one because with all my years of competing I have been to so many beautiful places. The one beach that comes to mind though that is extra special is Glenelg Beach in Adelaide. This was where I won my first Australian medal and also Kiama Downs IRB team made the top three in Australia. Glenelg also was where our team came second at the world titles so it definitely holds a special place in my heart.

Anything else you’d like to add…

Being involved in Surf Life Saving has taught me many valuable life lessons. It is such a great organisation to be part of and also for my family to be involved in. Things aren't always easy and throughout my years I have definitely had my fair share of hard times, but at the end of the day being involved in Surf Life Saving has given me my family, my friends and a great sense of achievement, belonging and community.

Our junior program is going from strength to strength, our numbers are increasing annually and our kids are achieving incredible results in surf sports. Having the nippers just swimming around the can is a huge milestone and a life lesson you can’t learn anywhere else. The supportive environment our club is able to provide has seen our members (both kids and parents) achieve goals that they previously saw as being unachievable.

Our patrolling numbers are increasing every year and we have the largest number of females patrolling in our surf club’s history. This is something that I am extremely proud of. Many women and mums think that achieving their Bronze is an impossible task and yet our club is continually breaking down barriers and each year more and more females are joining the organisation in active patrolling positions.

Our IRB team continues to go from strength to strength. We are a tight team which is more like family than a team. We have big dreams and I have no doubt that this incredible bunch of people will be able to achieve what we once thought was impossible.

I am so proud to be part of Surf Life Saving. The skills and lessons that I have gained from my involvement is definitely something I want my children to have the opportunity to experience. My involvement has given me way more than I could have ever imagined.

Thank you to my husband Skip, my girls Zali and Macey and all the wonderful people who are now lifelong friends because of my involvement in Surf Life Saving.


Photo: Naida with daughters Macey and Zali.

Thu 29 Jun 2017