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Surf Life Saving NSW’s Awards of Excellence has highlighted the value of Illawarra and South Coast Branch volunteers within the movement, with one third of the evening’s categories taken out by their members.

Bellambi SLSC led the way with four category wins, including back-to-back wins to open proceedings with the Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year and the Youth Volunteer of the Year – going to Brody Robertson and Halle Bone, respectively.

Further wins to Scarborough Wombarra SLSC, Coalcliff SLSC, Wollongong City SLSC and Kiama Downs SLSC rounded out a stellar evening for the two southern branches and made it an even eight awards in total.

The SLSNSW Awards of Excellence celebrate the incredible people from within the organisation and the impact they have on their clubs, members, and their local communities.

“Something must be going on, I don’t know what it is, but it’s awesome to see our club showing off the talent and skills we have,” Brody joked.

“We have a lot of up-and-coming talent, a lot of commitment, we just have a lot of fun,” Halle said moments after her award was announced.

Bellambi’s Call-out Team would later pick up the Services Team of the Year gong before Jaclyn Percy would round out the club’s awards, being named the Trainer of the Year.

Rachelle Balez of Scarborough Wombarra scooped her award in the Patrol Captain of the Year category, while Wollongong City’s Glenn Beveridge and Kiama Downs’ Nathan Foster claimed half of the Surf Sports category between them; Glenn was named the Coach of the Year and Nathan the Masters Athlete of the Year.

A legend of Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) racing, Nathan was proud to be recognised in a category stacked with talented athletes.

“Whilst it’s an athlete award, you do a lot of your racing with teammates so it’s not just me in a sense but it’s certainly a real honour,” he said.

“I’m a competitor at heart. Over time I’ve fallen into the coaching and I try to lead by example and pass on knowledge where I can but I take a lot from inspiring the team through what you do when you toe the line with everyone else.”

Each state winner will now progress through to be considered for national awards ahead of the Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence later this year.

Monday 28 August 2023