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Published on: 08 Nov 2016 by c00kemarch
The old TV image of well-tanned, able-bodied lifesavers running and diving into the surf to rescue drowning beach swimmers has remained in the minds of many people who grew up in the 80’s onward. Romantic as the images and stories might have been, the realities behind them tell of a different though equally passionate pursuit for the pleasures and adventures of the lifesaver’s life. Childhood tales of adventures, as we all know, have a way of remaining with us all throughout our lives.
That much we can probably say for the first few members of the Southbourne Group Surf Life Saving Club which now operates from a beach hut at the bottom of St. Catherine’s path nearby “Bistro On The Beach” from which members conduct daily patrols on foot, by inshore rescue boat as well as rescue board and surf skis. How’s that for having fun while on the job? For sure, if you dreamt as a child of sailing or just riding a motor boat and ended up doing it as a passion while helping to keep people safe, there is no way you can grow old. Or if you can go to the beach almost every day and soak in the scenery while being with close friends in search of people in distress, you will ever be a hero in your own eyes as well as of those who benefit from your work.
Certainly, Southbourne club members do not sit on their laurels or seek to do their volunteer work to gain acclaim. But to do so in order to rekindle the feeling and the fun of youth would not be bad, for that matter. No wonder that the club is continually swamped with applicants who wish to participate in their various activities. And for years, it has provided safety cover for many water-based activities for uniform groups, schools and groups with special needs. Southbourne has likewise engaged in various events, such as marathons, triathlons and air shows. Now, what more does the true child or the child-at-heart want than spending a day or a weekend engaging in or watching such activities with others with the same passion? As the cliché goes: Life is a beach!
Younger members of the club compose the very spirit of Southbourne Group Surf Life Saving Club as they also form the foundation of Beach Lifeguards of tomorrow. These members begin their training at 7 years of age in the Nipper programmes, offering many opportunities for all young people to learn and to grow to become mature adults. The club also has programmes for young ones aged 12 to16 in a comprehensive Lifesaving and Life Saving Sport awards, as well as for members aged 16 and above in professional Beach Lifeguarding qualifications, leadership development camps, sports coaching and instructor development courses.
It would be hard to imagine any time even in the far future when the spirit of Southbourne Group Surf Life Saving Club will expire or grow old.