Outward Bound Experiences

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

For several years now, Outward Bound has offered Surf Life Saving New Zealand a scholarship scheme which has given many of our members the opportunity to try a range of their courses.

Visit the Outward Bound website for more information about their range of courses.

Read about our latest recipients' adventures. Available stories from:

Anna Beavis

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 Anna (front left) with her watch group 'Cook'

Club: Fitzroy SLSC
Scholarship: Classic Course
Watch: Cook
Date: 9 June - 29 June 2013

As I wrapped up my final patrol and put away the red and yellow uniform until next season, it was time to head back to university for another year.  You never really know what the coming months will bring, let alone the year. But I never thought that filling out the application for Outward Bound, after my club nominated me for a scholarship, would result in me having three really busy, yet really enjoyable, weeks away in Anakiwa during winter.

In the past, I have had friends attend Outward Bound but it never appealed to me until the opportunity was placed in front of me to attend a course.  I never expected to be accepted for the scholarship, let alone into the 21 day course.  However I soon learnt at Outward Bound that one of their big values is to take every opportunity you get as it may never come around again.

Those three weeks were just about the most physically challenging of my life so far, which I had expected. However what I didn't expect was how emotionally and mentally challenging the three weeks would be.  The three weeks were made more enjoyable by having 12 other people alongside me the whole way and we all supported each other at every challenge we came across - through good times and bad.

Whether we were based in school working on our team bonding, spending time in school learning and discovering our individual values in our own lives, or out of school on three day long trips, we were constantly pushing ourselves.

It is fair to say that out of all the schemes we went on the most enjoyable for me were the water schemes.  My surf club background definitely came in handy during these tasks. However that is not to say that I still wasn't challenged.  I developed a new comfort zone by moving from the previous comfort zone to the challenge zone by pushing through the boundaries that I once had.

It is important to note that every scheme is as much an individual challenge as it is a team task and Outward Bound is all about developing yourself as a person and pushing your limits but also building your team work skills, and there are definitely tactics I learnt which I will put to good use in my everyday life in the future whether that's on patrol, coaching my juniors, at Beach Education sessions or in my future career as a teacher.

Outward Bound was a great opportunity and I am so grateful to Surf Life Saving New Zealand for offering me the scholarship and to Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club for nominating me.  I know that without the scholarship I would have never considered going to Outward Bound and I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to do so.  Not only did I learn so many new skills, but I learnt things about myself and my own limits and how far they can be pushed as well as meeting the most amazing group of people who I know will be lifelong friends.

I highly recommend Outward Bound to anyone who is looking for a new and exciting challenge, looking to build a new friendship circle or even looking to develop and extend their own boundaries and core values.

SLSNZ and Outward Bound gave me the opportunity to meet new challenges in life - like completing a 22 kilometre run and going on my first tramp - which, without Outward Bound, would never have happened.


Written by Anna Beavis

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Maps and compass fun times Sailing time


Mark McRobbie

A view from the top of the Sounds before beginning our tramp

Club: Palmerston North SLSC
Scholarship: Classic Course
Watch: Hillary
Date: 9 June - 29 June 2013

"Hey Beth, can you see any hand holds near me?"

"Nope, I've got a blindfold on too."

''Handy," I thought to myself as I used my one free hand to try and find a gap in the rocks. I pushed my head down on the ledge above, moved my hand up and scuffled my legs up the face using the smallest of foot holes to support my weight. Rolling slowly onto the ledge, I put my free hand up again and felt my way along the narrowing safety ropes to find the cold metal of a pulley, signifying the top of the Outward Bound rock wall. I ripped my blindfold off and tossed over the edge as my watch mates cheered from 30 metres below! Looking out over the calm waters of Anikiwa and Queen Charlotte Sound, I realised that my earlier reservations, regarding my climbing ability with one hand behind my back and a blindfold on, were unfounded limitations set by no one but myself. Once again, Outward Bound had facilitated my endeavour, pushing me beyond my comfort zone and instilling a sense of limitlessness.

Twenty one days at Outward Bound was what I needed to reflect on the past 23 years, discover new potential and orient my life. On first hearing about the reflection phase on the Classic course, I was dismissive of its worth until I was there doing it. I soon realised, I had never set aside any time in my life to think about what I had achieved. I found the time to be very useful in giving me time to evaluate several life choices I'd be facing on my return home. Outward Bound also gave me to opportunity to set goals and achieve them.  On my first morning at Outward Bound I ran the morning 3.2 kilometre run in 11 minutes and 43 seconds. I set myself a course goal to improve by 30 seconds. I completed our final 3.2 kilometre run in 11 minutes and eight seconds, smashing my goal which I feared unachievable. 

Setting and achieving goals were not all Outward Bound had on offer. On our first day we were put into watches of 14 people for the duration of the course. Together, our watch, Hillary Watch, climbed mountains, learned to sail a cutter, navigate, surf our kayaks and work together through challenges to new heights learning that life only holds barriers we ourselves make. 

This opportunity would not have been possible without Surf Life Saving New Zealand's assistance and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support! Outward Bound is a great opportunity for surf lifeguards to further their ambition, teamwork and leadership skills. I urge everyone eligible to apply for the opportunity to undertake the Outward Bound scholarship next early year when it once again becomes available. I would also like to thank the staff at Outward Bound for their efforts and Hillary Watch 582! Top stuff team, we did it!

Written by Mark McRobbie

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Deep Creak on our white water kayaking mission!

Anikiwa and Outward Bound after discarding my blindfold.


Zoë Canvin

Mackenzie watch after completing the gruelling 22km run

Club: Titahi Bay SLSC
Scholarship: Master's Course
Watch: Mackenzie
Date: 9 June - 29 June 2013

Outward Bound provides every person with a different experience.

For me, it wasn't about making major life changes, but redefining my goals and testing myself in some rather adverse and uncomfortable conditions.

The first uncomfortable situation was the mighty rock wall.  A huge, natural rock face overlooking the stunning township of Anakiwa (OB's home base).

I've never been particularly comfortable with heights so I wasn't especially looking forward to it… After watching and assisting a few others to conquer the climb, I was up. Just like Spiderman (insert 'Tui' advert here), as I gingerly navigated what seemed to be non-existent foot and hand holds. But it wasn't over there… One of the instructors kindly offered me a second climb, this time blind folded. I laughed in his face. There's no way I'm doing that, I thought, but that's exactly what I've come here for. You don't say "no," or "I can't do it," at Outward Bound. You just do it. So I did.

On went the blind fold and up I went again. Legs shaking, palms sweating, but I didn't stop until I reached the top! It was an incredible feeling seeing the view having climbed in darkness. It was a real reward, a small gift for putting in the hard yards earlier.

This first challenge really set the tone for the rest of the course. It showed me I could do and achieve anything; I just had to do it. So we did.

We navigated mountains in sun, rain and snow.
We rowed in fog, followed by dolphins, seals and gulls.
We kayaked rapids and waterfalls, climbed trees and sailed seas.
We told tales, shared secrets, defined dreams and goals.
We ran miles of road and swum in the icy sea and ate like kings and queens.

Outward Bound provides every person with a different experience. For me, it was about discovering different ways of doing things and discovering something different about myself. Something I wouldn't have learnt in my normal, comfortable environment.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Surf Life Saving New Zealand. Without their support I would not have been in those uncomfortable places and achieved what I did.

My advice for would be OBers? Get out there. Do it. Your journey has only just begun!

"You may think that taking a detour in life is a waste of time and energy, but you can also see the detour as a means of learning more about who you are and where you are heading in your life. Being off the beaten path may be disorienting and confusing at times, yet it challenges your creative spirit to discover new and different ways to get back home, into your heart; for your heart is your real home."  -- Andreas Moritz

Written by Zoë Canvin

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Can you spot the seven people? Returning to base after the bad weather forced us to turn back Beautiful Marlborough sunset as we sail/row
to our camp site