Four Eastern Region Surf Life Saving Club members have been selected to take on the highest qualification when it comes to lifeguarding in New Zealand.
Joe Cooke (Hot Water Beach), Chaz Gibbons-Campbell (Whiritoa), Carter Brydon (Whangamata) and Kaitlyn Pennell (Pauanui), will participate in the 2016 National Lifeguard School with 16 other candidates at Whangamata from December 2-4.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand's National Lifeguard Schools are something that lifeguards aspire to.
They combine dynamic theory sessions such as leadership and teamwork, with a number of intensive practical and scenario-based activities like rock navigation, search and rescue and helicopter operations. Participants are challenged both physically and mentally, honing already advanced skills.
Part of Surf Life Saving's partnership with Zespri, which was formed earlier this year, sees a number of scholarships available for the National Lifeguard School each year to cover the user-pays component of the course cost for Eastern Region candidates.
Zespri External Relations Manager Nick Kirton says they're proud to support the candidates through this year's National Lifeguard School.
"It's great to see more young lifeguards from across the Eastern Region upskilling to keep the beaches safer for our community this summer," he says.
Kaitlyn, Joe, Chaz and Carter are the recipients of this year's Zespri scholarships.
Hot Water Beach candidate Joe says as an 18 year-old lifeguard, being selected for National Lifeguard School is something he's very proud of and he has worked hard for.
He qualified as a lifeguard at age 14 and has acquired numerous qualifications through surf lifesaving over the past four years. This year he is a head regional lifeguard, a senior lifeguard, Patrol Captain, Junior Surf coach and mentor at his club. He says the National Lifeguard School is a great opportunity to gain knowledge and better his understanding of the roles and responsibilities of being a great lifeguard.
"I believe that, as a relatively young lifeguard, the club and I will benefit hugely from the experience and it will enable me to share my knowledge with fellow and younger lifeguards at the beach, he says.
"I'd like to thank Zespri for giving me the opportunity to take part and I look forward to having a great time at the school."
Whiritoa lifeguard Chaz Gibbons-Campbell says it's a great feeling being selected to attend this year's National Lifeguard School and he hopes to gain further skills and knowledge in managing emergency situations and conducting search and rescue operations.
"The scholarship from Zespri is fantastic and really appreciated. My club will be able to utilise the funds saved to upskill other lifeguards in areas such as first aid," he says.
Whangamata's Carter Brydon says going to National Lifeguard School is an amazing opportunity for him to increase his skill set and also give him a greater knowledge of how to work well in all conditions.
"I'm excited to take part in this school and to see how far I can push myself and better my skills," he says.
To learn more about the National Lifeguard School, please click here.
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager,
Phone 0276 488 823