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Harold Marshall is a member the 2018/19 NSW Club of the Year, Umina SLSC. This year he celebrates a decade since completing his Bronze Medallion. Not only did he attend the State Champs as the proud parent of upcoming athletes (Davara, 14 and Lucy, 12) and an official, he also hosted live stream and hosts the State Champs highlights show to be aired on SBS this Sunday 19 April 3-4pm.

Like many members in our movement, the surf club has played a major part in the upbringing of Harold and his wife Skye’s three daughters and their own personal skills development.

He says being part of Umina SLSC has helped everyone in their family find their place within the community and contribute in a way that means giving back and becoming happy, healthy individuals. “The best part is being able to spend so much time with my wife and kids whilst teaching the real values that will get them far in life,” he said.

“Ayva, my eldest daughter was really enjoying her time in Under 8s back in 2010 and I wanted to get involved too,” recalls Harold. “I wasn’t a great swimmer, never paddled a board and had no tangible first aid skills. My wife knew my limited capabilities and encouraged me to try. I did and have never looked back, always looking for more opportunities to help out in any capacity.”

Harold says they have always measured their kids on how much fun they’re having, how many new friends they’ve made, what they’ve learnt and how they’ve made a positive contribution back to the club and community. “Try your hardest and whatever happens, happens,” says Harold. “You can’t do anymore than that.”

He had no idea that walking through the doors of Umina SLSC ten years ago would have such a profound effect on their family and their lives. “Family is everything to us at Umina. It’s not your own bloodline but everyone dons the black, blue and white cap. It’s a special bond that isn’t akin to many other sports,” said Harold. “There just aren’t many other sports or activities where a family does everything together.”

In 2011 Harold gained his officials accreditation and has been religiously on the beach at surf events since. He says being an official has been great for him on many levels. “You always have the best seat in the house, first up,” he said.

“Also, you’re actually helping, you’re part of the fabric of the event. You learn so many technical aspects of sport from watching the best athletes right down to the fine details of the surf sports manual.” Finally he says it’s not just about the job you’re doing to help out, it’s also the people you are on the beach with.

Harold doesn’t have any favourite events but says what does stand out for him is the character shown by the competitors.

“Being an official means you are exposed to the interactions between people directly after a race. It always is the one thing that gets me,” he said. “Do they smile, do they congratulate all competitors who finish in front or behind them. Do they look to their parents for a smile and thumbs up? There are so many things going on but to see the exhaustion and smile knowing they’ve given their all, is great to see.”

And that’s what the 2020 NSW Championships are all about. Look and listen out for Harold and the whole commentary crew during the event and live on Surf Life Saving NSW Facebook and YouTube channels (@surflifesavingnsw).

Harold also hosts the Surf Life Saving NSW podcast What The Surf!? Catch the latest episode now.