We all know them – members who care, give up their time and want to make a difference. The Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence celebrate the incredible people in our organisation and the impact they have on their clubs, its members and their local communities.
Over the coming weeks in the leadup to our Awards ceremony, set to premiere on Facebook on Saturday, August 28 from 6.30pm, we highlight some of the inspirational people who are being recognised for their contribution to the community through Surf Life Saving.
In our community, support comes in many shapes and sizes.
As a nominee in the Official of the Year category, Wollongong City SLSC’s Melissa Gorgijovski showed that for some, those avenues of support are far-reaching and well rounded.
Melissa officiated at no less than eight carnivals over the course of the last year, and manages to juggle her three competitive children with her passion and dedication to her club.
“Without the support and mentoring of some of my colleagues, I wouldn’t be where I am,” she said.
“I am the first female to be a carnival referee for our branch, which was probably the biggest step for me this season.
“I’m just so grateful for the guidance of the late Keith Caldwell and Kevin Starling - they’ve really helped to promote, guide and encourage me. They gave me feedback and allowed me to step up and take on roles that we haven’t considered before.
“I’m also very grateful for the support of the SLSA Women’s Mentoring Program and Jenny Kenny who was by my side for 12 months. Her wealth of knowledge really helped me to enhance my skills.”
For others, like Youth Athlete of the Year finalist, Kalani Ives, the best support is that which manifests close to home.
Representing the Far North Coast branch as a member of Yamba SLSC, she also gave thanks to those who have helped her succeed in most recent events including winning the NSW U17 Iron Woman title and placing in various events on the Gold Coast.
“My dad, Todd Ives, who is also my coach and mentor, has dedicated so much time and energy into helping me achieve my dreams,” she said.
“I would also like to thank Brett and Kim Richardson of Ohana Ocean Athletics who have been supporting me since I was 10 years old. Thank you to DD3 Skis and Mick Herden from Australian Paddler HQ for helping me out with fast racing crafts.
“I love competition and I also love the feeling competition brings to me.”
That feeling of competition is all the support Ryan Cook needs. Nominated in the Coach of the Year category and a member of Swansea Belmont SLSC, Ryan sources his passion and support from those he coaches, and the effort they put in.
“It’s obviously nice to get the recognition for all the hard work but it’s reflective also of the work the juniors have put in to improve,” he said.
“It’s very easy to be passionate about something when you see the kids giving their all and growing as athletes.”
COACH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Samantha Miller, Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC
Neil Charles, Urunga SLSC
Mick Lang, Tacking Point SLSC
Ryan Cook, Swansea Belmont SLSC
Damien Benson, Avoca Beach SLSC
Grant Wilkinson, Elouera SLSC
Peter Anderson, Windang SLSC
Nathan Foster, Kiama Downs SLSC
Neil Innes, Batemans Bay SLSC
Luke Morrison, Newport SLSC
OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Kylie Ryan-Milroy, Cabarita Beach SLSC
Andrew Martin, Sawtell SLSC
Tina Woodward, Tacking Point SLSC
Amanda Williams, Forster SLSC
Matt Egan, Cooks Hill SLSC
Ken Sellers, The Entrance SLSC
Robyn Allan, Elouera SLSC
Melissa Gorgijovski, Wollongong City SLSC
Kath Bonniface, Kiama Downs SLSC
Andrew Holt, Pambula SLSC
Steve Haggett, North Narrabeen SLSC
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Hayley Smith, Cudgen Headland SLSC
Bella Williams, Swansea Belmont SLSC
Ryan Green, Terrigal SLSC
Ali Najem, Wanda SLSC
Hannah Minogue, Bulli SLSC
Sam Zustovich, Mollymook SLSC
Luella Boulton, Tathra SLSC
Jemma Smith, Newport SLSC
YOUTH ATHLETE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Kalani Ives, Yamba SLSC
Nick Caldwell, Tacking Point SLSC
Zara Foran, Swansea Belmont SLSC
Natalia Drobot, Avoca Beach SLSC
Lily Finati, North Bondi SLSC
Jasmine Locke, Bulli SLSC
Karla Jones, Mollymook SLSC
Dominque Melbourn, Nth Curl Curl SLSC
MASTERS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Joanne Kay, Byron Bay SLSC
Raelene Myers, Tacking Point SLSC
Kim Winter, Pacific Palms SLSC
Brendon Ross, Redhead SLSC
Hayden Smith, Terrigal SLSC
Scott Thomson, North Bondi SLSC
Michael Locke, Bulli SLSC
Jo Helson, Shellharbour SLSC
Shannon Job, North Steyne SLSC
SURF SPORTS TEAM OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Open Female Board Rescue, Cudgen Headland SLSC
The Kockatoos, Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC
U15 Female Board Relay Team, Cooks Hill SLSC
U17 Female Ski Relay Team, Avoca Beach SLSC
Open Mens Taplin Team, North Bondi
U19 Female Double Ski, Bulli SLSC
Open Female Teams Rescue, Kiama Downs SLSC
Burley Griffin Braves, Broulee Surfers SLSC
Open 6 Person R&R, Freshwater SLSC
The 2021 Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence are set to premiere on Facebook on the evening of Saturday, August 28.
Wednesday 11 August 2021