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Twenty-five gold medals and three world records is the extremely impressive return Bondi’s Laura Thurtell has compiled in the surf and in the pool since August 2017, and it was enough to earn her the Master Athlete of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony in Sydney last weekend.

Although she now calls Sydney and the famous Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving Club home having recently made the move for a sea-change, the one-time Forster surf lifesaver has made a significant contribution to her former club particularly in education and as a mentor to the youngsters coming through.

She was thrilled to be nominated for the season-ending award, but didn’t have high expectations of taking it out.

“It’s really exciting and fantastic to win as I wasn’t expecting it as there has been a lot of really strong performances this year.

“I had a great season, but for me the highlight would be the trip over to Perth for Aussies with all the Bondi team,” she said.

Laura’s season to remember wasn’t only on the back of individual success, she is the backbone of many team events, believing it to be one of the most enjoyable parts of surf sport competition.

She played a significant role in helping the Bondi Surf Bathers Masters team to overall champions at the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships in March.

While just a month later on the other side of the country her performances went to the next level as she quietly amassed nine gold medals including the Ironwoman crown in her division as well as two silver medals.

“The move has been going really well for me, it’s different but sometimes you just need that change,” Thurtell said.

The 2018 SLSNSW Awards of Excellence are proudly supported by Port Authority of New South Wales with almost 400 of Surf Life Saving’s most outstanding lifesavers, athletes, educators, coaches, and administrators from around the state gathering at Dockside, Cockle Bay to celebrate the season that was.

Laura Thurtell (Bondi Surf Bathers LSC) performed strongly in all events in 2018

For a full list of all the winners, and to see photographs from the night, please visit the SLSNSW Awards of Excellence Event Page or our social channels 


Wednesday 29 August 2018