Capital Coast Surf Life Saving NZ Awards of Excellence winners 2019

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Titahi Bay surf boats sweep Wil McDowall (standing), has been named Sportsperson of the Year for 2019.

Highly competitive international athletes and a host of surf lifesaving clubbies who go above and beyond for their club have all been celebrated at the Capital Coast Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Wellington tonight (Saturday 25 May).

“We’ve had another solid season at the Capital Coast clubs, with good proactive lifeguarding, and some great international and national sports efforts".

“We have incredibly dedicated and skilled people, who are putting in a lot of hard work to keep people safe in the water across the region so we can enjoy our beaches. So it’s great to celebrate some of them with the awards”, says Charlie Cordwell, Surf Life Saving NZ Central Region manager.

Recipient of the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award is Amy Spiekerman, director of lifeguarding at the Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards.

She organises patrol rosters, runs many training programmes for her own club and others around the region, and as a trained paramedic is known to break out a first aid pop quiz or extra lessons in down-time during bad weather, says Sandra Bednarek, from the Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards management committee.

“An amazing snapshot of her leadership was her completing the Surf Swim at our club champs just three weeks prior to the birth of her daughter! She is such a positive role model.”

“Amy is integral to the induction of all new members and lifeguards. She provides a cool and calm presence during training, and takes time out to build strong relationships with the new members.”

Sports Team of the Year was won by the Titahi Bay A Open Male Surf Boat Crew, who swept up a fistful of New Zealand titles, and made a strong threat on some Aussie titles too.

The team won the male long course and short course open surf boat finals at the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships at Mount Maunganui, in March, where Titahi Bay Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) was named Top Surf Boat Club.

They also reached the open surf boat finals for both the male long and short courses at the highly competitive Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Gold Coast in April, where they were the only male surf boat crew to reach both of these finals.

Sportsperson of the Year was won by Wil McDowell, who had a stellar year as sweep for Titahi Bay’s male and female open surf boat teams (the sweep stands at the back of the boat, to direct it through the surf with a steering oar.)

As well as the Titahi Bay open male surf boat team wins at the TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships (above), McDowell was sweep for Titahi Bay Surf Life Saving Clubs winning team in the surf boat relay, and for the club’s Open Female surf boat crew, that brought home the long course gold, at the same competition.

The Titahi Bay surf boat teams also competed as New Zealand male and female open surf boat teams in the Trans-Tasman Surf Boat Challenge at Waihi Beach in February, where they put in strong showings (both won their first round, before the Aussie teams took the final two rounds, taking the title back across the Tasman.)

Club Captain at Palmerston North Surf Life Saving Club Elizabeth Baty was named Lifeguard of the Year for her hard work to help her club cope with the loss of a number of senior lifeguards from their roster, as they moved away to other parts of the country, says club chairman Alec Mackay.

Mackay says Baty has also been the chief instructor and the busiest supervising lifeguard captain in the club, working with many younger lifeguards, as well as organising rosters.

“As our Club Captain she has oversight of the beach and responsibility for all our active lifeguards. This has been particularly challenging this year with a high percentage of young lifeguards, and she has spent a lot of time this year working with the younger lifeguards,” Mackay says.

The annual regional awards are held in Surf Life Saving NZ regions throughout the country, culminating with the National Awards of Excellence, later this year.

Capital Coast Awards of Excellence winners 2019:

U19 Lifeguard of the Year
Ben Strombom Paekakariki SL

Lifeguard of the Year
Elizabeth Baty Palmerston North SLSC

Instructor of the Year
Tessa Bruin Worser Bay SLSC

Sportsperson of the Year
Wil McDowell Titahi Bay SLSC

U19 Sportsperson of the Year
Atakura Julian Otaki SLSC

Sports Team of the Year
Titahi Bay SLSC A. Open Male Surf Boat Crew

Coach of the Year
Wayne Wickens Maranui SLSC

Surf Official of the Year
Teri Anderson Paekakariki SL

Volunteer of the Year
Amy Spiekerman Paekakariki SL

Innovation of the Year
Otaki SLSC

Service Award
Amy Spiekerman Paekakariki SL
Dave Wells Worser Bay SLSC
Grant Rae Worser Bay SLSC
Henry Williams Worser Bay SLSC
Tessa Bruin Worser Bay SLSC
Distinguished Service Award
Teri Anderson Paekakariki SL

Life Membership Award
Ben Flynn Paekakariki SL
Joss Urbahn Foxton SLSC
Matt Warren Paekakariki SL


File photos for Surf Life Saving NZ can be found here.

For more information, please contact:

Charlie Cordwell, SLSNZ Central Region manager, 027 557 1015

Karoline Tuckey, media and communications for Surf Life Saving NZ
Phone: 021 636 647 Email: