Weekend of Highs For South West Rocks Volunteers

An army of loyal volunteers from hosts South West Rocks played an integral role in the successful staging of the 2016 Stramit NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships which was enjoyed by over 1400 competitors last weekend.

Working Party committee member Mick Adams said a huge part of the event’s success was that the whole club and South West Rocks community embraced the challenge of hosting the pinnacle of Country Surf Life Saving.

“What is a positive is that the community have really embraced the championships – Kempsey Council has been fantastic, the SES, Rotary, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the RFS have all been involved as well.” said Mick Adams who was fronting up for his fifth Country Championships as a member of the Working Party.

“I think South West Rocks has wonderful community spirit and there’s a lot of pride in hosting an event like this.

“It’s a very high status event on the calendar and provides enormous economic benefits to the community.”

Leading into the championships, a core group of 10 met regularly for committee meetings and a further 50-80 club members volunteered their time each day.

“The whole club embraced the event – people come early in the morning and left late at night while others spend time patrolling in the morning and then work on the bbq in the afternoon.

“Most clubs go through peaks and troughs, but ever since we finished the extension on the club back in 2006 we’ve just sailed higher and higher,” said Adams.

A powerful surf forecast for day one of the championship could have been a problem for many other beaches on the coast but the local clubbies had every confidence that they would be able to meet the challenges of the day without any problems.

And so it proved, thanks to their years of collective experience and of course favourable geography.

“We’re really lucky with our north facing beach and the fact it also faces west as well means we can host in pretty much any weather. Even on Saturday with the rain and wind the swell didn’t impact on us at all,” Adams said.

Hosting the Country Champs was a huge job logistically for the South West Rocks volunteers but Mick Adams believes it was the strong leadership team within the club that allowed them to deliver an event that everyone involved could be proud of.

“I don’t think people realise how big an event it is until something isn’t there on the beach. You just expect it all to run smoothly but it takes a huge group effort.

“Rod McDonagh has been a fantastic leader during this whole process. Bobby Ryan is a maestro when setting up the beach and handling the logistics, and Steve Divall and Trish Ryan coordinated the catering. There are too many people to name individually, but with those leaders at the helm you can’t go wrong,” Adams said.

And when the last of the tents were pulled down and the footsteps faded away there wasn’t any trace of the 2016 Country Champs left on the beach, and that’s just the way the working party like it.

Fri 12 Feb 2016