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Five clubs join to train newbies

A ground-breaking initiative by Gisborne-Tairawhiti surf lifeguards to train this summer’s crop of new guards and patrol support people together is proving effective and popular.

A group of around 50 people have joined the Tairawhiti Surf Lifeguard Training Academy so far and more have been joining all the time.

The collaborative initiative was created by the district’s examiners and instructors and involves candidates from Ngati Porou, Tolaga Bay, Wainui, Waikanae and Midway surf lifesaving clubs.

“They are training to take part in both patrol support and for their surf lifeguard awards,” said Sonia Keepa, club development officer for Gisborne/Tairawhiti.

“The purpose is to bring together resources to draw on strengths, experience and bring a depth of knowledge to provide the best possible training for our new surf lifeguards.”

She said the trial programme was going really well. “It’s something we have been wanting to achieve for a long time. The idea grew out of the co-operative approach coaches from the three Gisborne clubs took last summer to training their surf athletes.”

Mrs Keepa said it was about “the people and the vision coming together as one, to work together colloboratively for the future.”

“It’s a new approach from a new generation to bring through a new generation of lifeguards.

“To my knowledge it has not been tried before anywhere else. Traditionally clubs have instructed their own new members.

“It’s very exciting and we have a really neat range of age groups involved, not just 14-year-olds going for their surf bronze, but mums and dads and other new adult members too.”

She said those involved were really enjoying it. “You might be a member of one club, but you have friends across the board, and it’s neat they can all train together — part of building the future.”

The first examination of the season is set for the beginning of December.

“That’s so new surf lifeguards and patrol support people are able to become an important part of their clubs’ voluntary patrol work this coming summer.”

District chief examiner Michelle Mitchell said it would mean consistent high standards across the district’s clubs and their patrols.

“It means members from all clubs will get the best instruction possible.”

The academy members have already been training together for a month.

TRAINING TOGETHER: A new initiative in Gisborne-Tairawhiti to train surf lifeguards and those people supporting patrol operations from all local surf clubs, has been under way for about a month. About 50 candidates have joined the first Tairawhiti Surf Lifeguard Academy (pictured). Development officer Sonia Keepa said it was “a new generation bringing through a new generation of lifeguards”. Picture supplied