Skip to main content

Three members of Wauchope Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club who completed their Bronze Medallion 10 years ago have been reflecting on the journey surf lifesaving has taken them, both within the discipline and in their professional lives. 

The trio hope to inspire the next generation of young members to continue on after nippers into the wider SLS movement or join the organisation for the first time.

Twenty-five-olds Andy Eames, Jedd Goggin and Gilbert Olzomer (all from Bonny Hills) were all members of WBHSLSC and attending (the then) St Paul’s High School Port Macquarie when they undertook the course a decade ago. 

When they completed their Bronze Medallion together under the expert instruction of the club’s Life Governor ‘Chalkie’ Bob Smith, OAM, little did the trio know the journey surf lifesaving would have on their lives.

Andy, Jedd and Gil came to their Bronze course from different avenues. Andy originally from Sydney joined the club when he started at St. Paul’s while Gil started nippers in the under-six age group, took a break and re-joined in the under 14 age group, and Jedd continued through from the under-six age group.

Following the Bronze Medallion, the three gained numerous qualifications including inflatable rescue boat driver and crew, first aid and Rescue Water Craft (jetski) qualifications. 

The boys agree that the training surf lifesaving provides is a ‘gate opening’ opportunity. 

“All qualifications are recognised under the Australian Qualification Training Framework making them nationally recognised and internationally sought-after,” said Andy.

Andy held numerous roles at WBHSLSC including Patrol Captain, Training Officer and IRB Captain which he credits for developing his love of training which saw him offered a water safety advisor and education role in Fiji. 

Andy also worked alongside the World Surf League at the Couldbreak WTC event and has founded Handy Training (Fiji) where he is the CEO of the 1st response aquatic rescue and work place health and safety training business in Fiji.

Gil held numerous roles at WBHSLSC and later Maroubra SLSC including Patrol Captain, Club Captain and Training Officer. Gil has since won an Australian Championship, completed his law degree and works at a law firm in Sydney CBD. 

Gil also Lifeguards for the Australian Lifeguard Service. 

“The opportunities that the organisation offers are endless in so many fields including leadership development, sport, education and water safety,” said Gil.

Jedd also held numerous roles at WBHSLSC, Maroubra SLSC and Surf Rescue 30 including Patrol Captain, Director of Lifesaving and Training Coordinator. Jedd Lifeguarded for PMHC and the Australian Lifeguard Service before joining the Royal Australian Navy.

He has since been posted to Her Majesty’s Australian Ships Creswell, Watson, Darwin, Armidale, Stuart, Choules, Stirling, Dechaineux and the Australian Defence Force Academy. 

“The leadership skills learnt and practiced in a volunteer organisation are used in my Navy career daily,” said Jedd.

While the three no longer live in the area full-time, they could not help to pass over the opportunity at the 10-year milestone to reflect and encourage others to take up the mantle to something that provides so much for those who get involved.

Surf Lifesaving is an iconic organisation within Australia recognised globally.  

It also provides great social connections for people as they move around the country and indeed the world for education, professions or other reasons.  There is always a surf club nearby that you can join, reconnect and continue learning, enjoying and benefiting from being a part of such an iconic movement.

Words contributed by Leanne Goggin.

Leanne is currently the Member Services Officer at Wauchope-Bonny Hills SLSC. This article also appeared in the Wauchope Gazette.


Friday 4 May 2018