SurfCom Week Profile: Jess Grofski

At twenty three years old Jess Grofski is a passionate SurfCom operator and member of North Steyne SLSC.

Name: Jessica Grofski

Age: 23

Club: Currently at North Steyne but originally from Moana in Adelaide.

Occupation: Paramedic student and Triple Zero call taker for NSW Ambulance.

When did you join Surf Life Saving and why? When I was 6 there was an ad in my school newsletter for a come and try at my local surf club that was within walking distance so Dad thought we should give it a go... I haven't left since!!!

Why are you a volunteer SurfCom operator? Initially it was a good alternative to 45 degree days on the beach, and of course the opposite 16 degrees and pouring with rain days!

How many hours in total (not just this season) have you volunteered for SurfCom? Approximately 100.

What do you enjoy most about being an operator? Being on duty with people from a variety of clubs! Up at Belrose we have operators from Sydney branch, Northern Beaches and Central Coast. We all have different backgrounds and different skills but work really well together under pressure and have our own unique streaks that are great in a crisis. As much as I love the "quiet" moments, I really love the adrenaline when there's a few incidents running at a time and we have everyone on the phones and radios to ambulance, police, patrol captains, duty officers, support skis etc. I've also made some really great friends that I otherwise wouldn't have met on the beach.

In what other ways are you involved in Surf Lifesaving? I was a competitor from U9's right up to cadets, representing South Australia on 3 state teams. I also water coached and took a junior age group when I moved up from nippers, rowed surf boats for a season, and raced IRB's both in SA and NSW. I am now bronze medallion, IRBC, ARTC and SFA, currently an active patrolling member and recreational board/ski paddler.

Who is someone you admire in the Surf Life Saving movement and why? My old water coach in Adelaide, Ray Burnett. He put up with my 5am crankiness and night time tiredness at more trainings than I can count! He pushed me to my absolute limits at training and competition and turned me into a state representative. He never yelled and always gave us everything he could.

Anything else you’d like to add or advice you have for people thinking about coming an operator? Get involved in everything you can! That’s the great thing about surf lifesaving, there’s just so many aspects to it and everyone finds something they are really passionate about. I highly recommend being a SurfCom operator, you learn a whole range of skills that you won’t get anywhere else and get to go “behind the scenes” of patrol communications and incident management. Plus, there’s air conditioning, we are friendly and have plenty of laughs!

Tue 25 Nov 2014