Top Lifesavers Honoured At SLSNSW Awards Of Excellence

Far North Coast Surf Lifesavers have achieved top honours at the annual Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence presented by Stramit Building Products in Sydney on Saturday 3rd August.

The Awards of Excellence acknowledge surf lifesavers from throughout NSW who have performed invaluable public service as lifesavers, administrators or trainers within the community.

Country Athlete and Rescue of the Year Awards were both taken out by Far North Coast lifesavers.

Ela Heiniger of Byron Bay SLSC was awarded Country Athlete of the Year in recognition of her outstanding achievements in surf sports at the international, national, state and branch level.

Ela has continued to develop as a surf lifesaver, complimenting her success in the sports arena, by undertaking her lifesaving responsibilities and her club commitments with the same dedication and prowess she displays in competition. Ela’s love of surf sports and her commitment to training has seen her achieve outstanding results as a country competitor.

Ela has dominated the results at Aussies, the Australian Pool Rescue Championships, Allphones Surf Life Saving State Championships, NSW Country Titles, QLD Pool Rescue and QLD State Endurance Championships and has also been a successful member of the NSW Country Branch team to tour New Zealand.

Ela was also the recipient of the 2012-13 Byron Shire Young Sports Person of the Year.

Mark Puglisi, Gary Murphy, Brad Heard, Gary Meredith, Simon Fogarty, Elton Cummings, Ross Trease and Ben Redman of the Far North Coast Ballina Jet Boat received Rescue of the Year following their outstanding response in April 2013.

The Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue received a callout to assist two vessels in distress in two metre waves and an outgoing tide.

Nearing the Richmond River bar, the team received communications from Marine Rescue NSW that they had lost communication with one of their vessels. While no vessels or persons could be located, the crew advised that lights could be seen approximately 300 metres east of the bar.

After assessing possible risk, the Jet Rescue Boat crossed the bar and located the capsized vessel with three people on the upturned hull and while the crew prepared to enter the water, the fourth person swam out from the cruiser.

After securing all four persons on board, the crew were advised there was still one person outstanding from the second boat. A single torch light was sighted approximately 500 metres east-north-east of their location; the team investigated and located the outstanding person floating, wearing a lifejacket.

With the rescued patients beginning to display initial signs of hypothermia and the rescue helicopter unable to winch due to the conditions and a return across the bar was deemed too dangerous, the crew manoeuvred through the surf zone and beached the boat where the five patients were transferred to an awaiting ambulance service.

The bravery, skills and swift response shown by the crew and volunteers of the Ballina Jet Boat Surf Rescue saved five lives.

More than 250 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, coaches and administrators gathered in Sydney on Saturday night to celebrate the enormous contribution of volunteers and clubs from across NSW.

Wed 7 Aug 2013