20 of New Zealand’s best volunteer surf lifeguards attended Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s (SLSNZ) National Lifeguard School to gain their Advanced Lifeguard Award, New Plymouth over the weekend.
Based at Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), the three-day National Lifeguard School takes the top volunteer surf lifeguards in New Zealand and teaches them more advanced skills including rock rescues, rescue helicopter operations, advanced first aid and rigorous fitness challenges.
All the participants will take these specialised skills back to their local beaches around the country, which will ultimately help save lives and keep beachgoers safer during the upcoming holiday season.
However, it was Hamish Clayton from Waihi Beach SLSC who took home the highly valued top candidate honours after being a “standout candidate all weekend.”
National Education Manager, Belinda Slement said “Hamish showed exceptional leadership, great team work, and sound IRB and decision making skills. He showed clear development over the weekend, had a brilliant attitude and really stepped up during the school.”
This is despite 2018’s National Lifeguard School seeing “some of the highest quality candidates ever.”
“Everyone at Surf Life Saving New Zealand passes on our congratulations to Hamish [Clayton] for being this year’s top lifeguard. It was no easy feat so he can be incredibly proud of it” she added.
Currently in his fifth season patrolling beaches, Hamish said it’s an “awesome feeling” to get the top award and being recognised for his contribution to the local community.
“I was not expecting it at all, so it’s an awesome feeling. The whole experience throughout the weekend was great, and I learnt a lot from the instructors and the other lifeguards which I’ll take back to Waihi Beach,” he said.
He’s also proud that his hard work has paid off, after spending the past few years “constantly developing my lifeguarding skills,” and “keeping my fitness up over winter so I can still be at the top level of swimming and running.”
“I also have to say thanks to my club, Waihi Beach, for always supporting me and giving me these opportunities,” he added.
He was presented with the prestigious award by SLSNZ President, Brian Velvin, at the conclusion of the three-day training.
Conditions in New Plymouth also made for “perfect learning opportunities” as the weather truly put the participants through their paces with “consistent swell, sun and wind,” said Mrs Slement.
“We also want to say a big thank you to Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club for hosting us again this year. They did an outstanding job supporting the school and feeding all our crew,” said Mrs Slement.
Participants in this year’s National Lifeguard School were:
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