Skip to main content

Surf lifesavers from Umina Beach Surf Life Saving Club on the Central Coast came away with major accolades at the Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence last weekend.

The annual Awards of Excellence honour outstanding achievements in all aspects of surf life saving. A record number of lifesavers from across NSW attended the event held in Sydney on 31 August.

Television personality and Surf Life Saving member, Tom Williams, hosted the evening. He shared the stage with the state’s top surf lifesavers as they were honoured in front of their peers. 

Members of Umina Beach SLSC travelled to Sydney with high hopes of picking up several awards and they weren’t disappointed. They brought home the coveted Club of the Year, Patrol Team of the Year and Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year awards.

Umina Beach SLSC places a strong emphasis on service to their community. They pride themselves on living their vision of creating opportunities for their members to develop as people and surf lifesavers.

“We worked so hard, from surf sports to education to Nippers to community education; every single facet, to make sure we’re inclusive and engaging. To finally win this after five goes at it is amazing,” said Umina Beach Director of Surf Sports, Harold Marshall.

Over the season Umina Beach SLSC worked hard to meet the needs of all members in an inclusive and accessible way with a key focus on member welfare and protection.

“Umina is an open club and we have something for everyone. We ran a community outreach program called 'Does the Cap Fit' to try and tell everyone we have something for them. We’ve also engaged really well with our sponsors,” said Jenni Darwin Director of Administration.

The campaign has been a resounding success in celebrating the variety of opportunities available within the club. The campaign made great inroads - increasing engagement from sponsors, members and the wider community.

“Our membership has exceeded 1000 for the first time ever. This award is the collective effort of all our 1042 members who can all be proud of this achievement. said Steve Scahill, Umina Beach Club President.

“It’s bigger than surf sports. It’s bigger than education. We’re about building community and looking after each other,” said Harold Marshall.

Embodying the Umina club spirit is Kai Darwin - one of Umina Beach’s most skilled and dedicated young lifesavers. He was rewarded for his efforts with the Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year Award.

“Surf Life Saving is a great family for me. I’m really involved and everyone at Umina and across the Central Coast is very supportive.

“It means a lot to win this award and I’m very grateful,” said Kai Darwin.

Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year Kai Darwin with SLSNSW Director of Lifesaving Joel Wiseman.

Not only has Kai logged heaps of hours on patrol each season, at just 17 he has amassed advanced awards including; inflatable rescue boat crew and driver quals, Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue, Spinal Management and his trainers qualification.

Kai is also a UAV (drone) pilot under the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Drone program.

“Surf Life Saving offers so many opportunities for development of members. There are just so many opportunities for me. I imagine I’ll be in Surf Life Saving my whole life,” said Kai.

Kai was a first responder in several rescues throughout last season where he managed emergencies with maturity and professionalism far beyond his years.

Kai has also shown great commitment representing the club off the beach. This year he initiated the Surf Safety education program at local primary schools. He provides water safety for weekly training courses and recently took on a facilitator’s role at the Central Coast Youth Camp and was selected to attend the 15-18 years Leadership Program.

“It’s a real sense of pride to be able to help the community and to keep them safe at the beach,” Kai concluded.

NSW Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence – Central Coast Recipients

  • Youth Lifesaver of the Year – Kai Darwin (Umina Beach SLSC)

  • Patrol of the Year – Patrol 12 (Umina Beach SLSC)

  • Club of the Year – Umina Beach SLSC

  • Masters Athlete of the Year – Paul Lemmon (Terrigal SLSC)

  • Facilitator of the Year – Paul Duignan (Copacabana SLSC)

  • Sports Team of the Year – Under 17 Male Board Relay, Swansea Belmont SLSC


Friday 6 September 2019