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Volunteer surf lifesaver Karl Solomonson has lifesaving in his blood arguably even before birth, but it was a love affair with boats that began at the tender age of 15 that has kept the Sydneysider coming back each season.

For four decades the dawn of summer has meant just two things to Solomonson; beach and boats, and from his early days of patrol through to his current role as a skipper of Surf Rescue 30, a lifetime on the beach has been about saving lives and belonging to a community of like-minded individuals.

“My involvement in surf began when my father joined Maroubra SLSC around 1943, and at it is at the club where he met my mother who was in the social club March Past team.

“All of us kids signed up as Nippers with tradition continuing in my family. My wife Annie is in North Bondi surf club and both my daughters are in Maroubra and North Bondi. 

“My love of boats developed when I did my first IRB rescue as a crewperson around 15 years of age, and  the rest is history as I advanced from IRB’s to Jet Boats to Offshore Rescue Boats and I am now a Skipper on Surf Rescue 30,” Karl Solomonson said.

With the theme of National Volunteer Week in 2018 being “Give a Little. Change a lot.” The experienced lifesaver took time out to offer some thoughts about the importance of volunteering to the surf lifesaving movement.

“When I reflect on the importance of volunteering, I immediately think of all the good our movement has contributed to.

“As clubbies we have saved lives, prevented countless near drownings and promoted a unique Australian brand that is recognised throughout the world. Through volunteering, surf lifesavers have contributed significantly to the well-being of our country and community, both from an economic perspective and a social perspective.

“Many friendships are formed - as a clubbie, I know that I can turn up to any club in Australia and while not knowing a single member; be welcomed and invited in for a chat or to do a patrol,” he said.

Karl is justifiably proud of his Surf Rescue 30 Family, and loves the thrill of helping new candidates uncover skills they never knew they have.

He believes it is this comradery and willingness to get the job done that helps the small team overcome adversity even among the toughest of challenges.

As someone involved in surf lifesaving for much of his life he is ideally placed to be able to comment on some of the changes he has witnessed.

“I believe the advent of “Support Operations” has allowed us to increase our professionalism by using our surf lifesaving expertise 7x24x365. I have been to so many rescues and out of hours calls and upon arrival, the professional emergency services have welcomed us because of our training and background,” said Karl Solomonson.

Any lifesavers interested in joining Surf Rescue 30 for the 2018/19 season and who hold the minimum requirements are encouraged to make contact with the team.

Distance is no barrier with country members often doing a couple of shifts over summer. It’s an opportunity to live the ethos of giving a little, and changing a lot.

From May 21-27, SLSNSW will be celebrating the achievements of our wonderfully dedicated volunteers as part of National Volunteer Week. To find out more about this annual celebration of the unsung heroes of Australia, please click here


Monday 21 May 2018