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Learn a little more about your officials this year as we sit down with Woolgoolga SLSC’s Amy Hannaford. Look out for her over the course of the Championships around the flag pit and sprint track.

How long have you been involved in Surf Life Saving and what initially brought you to the movement?

I became involved in Surf Life Saving in 2016 when my two eldest children started out as Nippers at Swanbourne SLSC in Perth. ‘Swanny’ beach is host to some pretty hectic conditions, so there were many sessions spent doing activities in the sand (which is possibly why my daughter now has a preference for beach events). Growing up, I always wanted to be a Nipper and didn’t have that opportunity, so I am grateful that my children do (and that they love being part of it).

Why is Surf Life Saving so important for young children in your mind?

Surf Life Saving is very different from other activities or sports on offer for kids. It’s unique because it is the only sport/activity which stipulates a community service component as a condition of entry into competition. Nippers is not just a sport, it’s a way of life and I think helps to foster a sense of being ‘a helper’ in children.

As an official what’s been your greatest challenge so far?

My greatest challenge is probably connected to my desire to do things perfectly and learning to manage my self-criticism in a constructive way. Surf carnivals are dynamic and officials are often faced with very challenging situations. Sometimes we don’t get it right. Officiating requires someone to think critically and be willing to accept feedback. At each carnival I remind myself that it’s an opportunity to improve on the previous carnival. I’m working on treating ‘mistakes’ as learning opportunities rather than failures. And notwithstanding all of this, I thoroughly enjoy being an official.

Do you think you play a role, as an official, in keeping kids interested and involved in Surf?

I hope that I do. Some athletes come into events feeling nervous or are upset by outcomes which don’t go their way, and I am very mindful that while these experiences can (and should) help to build resilience, that having an official who is kind, helpful and respectful of their feelings can help them to bounce back from setbacks and look forward to their next opportunity to compete.

As a North Coast family, what about State Champs makes the event such a special occasion?

From my children’s perspective, State Champs events provide fantastic opportunities to build friendships with athletes from all over the State. My eldest daughter in particular has made great connections with other girls from her age group. As an official, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting like-minded people who also love surf sports. It has helped to ignite my passion and strive to become involved in other aspects of Surf. Attending State Champs reminds me how important Surf Life Saving is in building community and connections.

Sweet or savoury?

70% sweet, 30% savoury

Dogs or cats?


Fiction or non-fiction?

Mostly fiction (with a touch of legal or medical texts and true crime)

Early riser or night owl?


Favourite meal?

Anything with potatoes, and crème caramel (not on the same plate!)

Favourite holiday location?

I’m lucky because I live in a holiday destination, and it generally takes a surf sports carnival to make me leave my LGA. I do love Tasmania, however, as I think there’s something for everyone there. I would love to visit the south island of New Zealand.

Friday 1 March 2024