Wāhine on Water - Immy Doyle

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

The Wāhine on Water initiative aims to get more female lifeguards trained up to crew and drive inflatable rescue boats (IRBs). The programme pairs less experienced lifeguards with an experienced female IRB mentor, and the events give women an opportunity to expand their boat experience in a supportive, relaxed and fun environment. 

Let’s find out about one of the wonderful wāhine involved in the initiative, Immy Doyle. 

Name: Immy Doyle 
Age: 24 
Club: St Kilda 
Tell us who you are within SLS: 
I’ve been involved in surf at various Dunedin clubs since I was a Nipper, competing in Surf Sports and racing IRBs and now Instructing, Lifeguarding and Event Guarding. I am currently based at St Kilda where I’m club secretary. 

I’m a long-time Event Guard, so even though I don’t race at the moment you’ll find me at most comps setting up and helping run arenas. This year my Dad is running the local IRB comps and it’s pretty fun helping him out. I’m onto my 7th or 8th season of Regional Guard and Beach Ed, (you) can’t beat spending the summer working at the beach. 
Name the three most influential people in your SLS career: 

  1. My superstar sister Carina Doyle, got us into surf when she was recruited into St Clair as a swimmer and my other sister and I joined out at Warrington because it was closer to home. She has been super successful in surf lifesaving, competing at worlds multiple times and going to the Com games and the most recent Olympics. 
  1. Charlotte Ibbotson - she put me through my drivers as soon as I was old enough and I absolutely loved it. I started racing IRBs with my sister Eilis that same season and have been all about boats ever since. 
  1. Mase and Scoob. Mase was my IRB coach and was so supportive and encouraging the entire time we were racing. Scoob was really kind and supportive and really encouraging whilst also being realistic about our abilities and expectations. It made us feel welcome in a pretty intimidating environment. 

What’s been your scariest SLS moment: 
At IRB Nationals at Warrington a few years back the surf was feral and they were trying to decide if the comp should be moved. I had dislocated my knee a couple of weeks before and it was held together by strapping tape and faith. Mase asked how we felt about racing and I realised if we went out and flipped, I wouldn’t have been able to swim myself in and I didn’t know if I would be able to tread water either (this was pre racing in life jackets). Racing got moved thankfully. 
WOW moment/favourite SLS memory: 
Some of my favourite moments are boat missions with my mates. After an IRB comp last year, it was a super nice day so some pals and I took our boats round the coast and went exploring. More recently, after our Beach Ed induction, fellow WOW Phoebe Aburn and I took our supervisor (Carrie Worthington) up the coast to some of our favourite spots. Boats provide a whole new perspective and way to explore the coast and it was super fun to share that with someone new. 
What does Wāhine on Water mean to you: 
IRBs are SO fun and have provided me with some amazing opportunities to do some seriously cool and fun stuff. Wāhine on Water means I get to pass on some of that and provide some of those opportunities to a new group of girls. IRBs can be so much fun but can be super intimidating and, in some cases, really difficult to access depending on the club environment. So breaking down those barriers is super important and rewarding. 

What advice would you give to yourself when you first joined SLS: 
Just go for it. 
Life outside of SLS: 
I’m a PhD student at Massey researching long-term past climate change. During semester time I work at Otago Uni in the Geography department as a Teaching and Research Assistant and give the odd lecture or two on geomorphology or paleoclimatology. In summer if I’m not doing something surf related, I’m probably in the water somewhere up the Dunedin coast. In winter I ski and play hockey to keep myself busy between surf seasons.