Surf Life Saving New Zealand Announces Winners of Otago/Southland Awards of Excellence

Monday, 22 May 2023

The winners for Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s (SLSNZ) Otago/Southland Awards of Excellence, which recognises the outstanding achievements and contributions within the Surf Lifesaving community, have been announced.


Madelene Ozanne, a dedicated member of the Warrington Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), won Lifeguard of the Year.  Her outstanding contributions during the 2022/23 season were invaluable to the club and community.


Ozanne played a pivotal role in training the club’s new Surf Lifeguards, successfully guiding and mentoring five people to attain their Surf Lifeguard Award.  As the Lifeguard Coordinator, she demonstrated exceptional organisation skills, ensuring efficient patrol coordination, and maintaining an adequate number of Surf Lifeguards on the beach.


Charlotte Becconsall, Warrington SLSC Committee Member, said she is a highly respected figure within the club and wider community.  She said, “Maddy has started to incorporate aspects of Surf Lifeguard training, such as first aid scenarios, with the Nippers, who love learning more about how to be a Surf Lifeguard. This helps to bridge the gap between Junior Sports and Lifeguarding.  The initiative she has taken promoting the work Surf Lifeguards do to our younger members is very valuable.”


Becconsall said her reliability, passion, and unwavering dedication makes her an invaluable asset to Surf Lifesaving


Felix Cook from St Kilda SLSC was awarded the prestigious title of Volunteer of the Year.  Since relocating to Dunedin for University, Cook has demonstrated unwavering dedication and commitment to Surf Lifesaving in Otago.  His involvement spans across numerous roles at St Kilda SLSC, including Lifeguard, Patrol Captain, Lifeguard Coordinator, Committee Member, Honours and Awards Coordinator, and both Surf Lifeguard and Rock Rescue Module Instructor.


Cook has also actively contributed to the broader Surf Lifesaving community in various capacities and he’s played a vital role in national Surf Lifesaving initiatives and events.


Peter Gibbons, the President of St Kilda SLSC, commended Cook’s immense passion.  He said, “Felix is a huge advocate for Surf Lifesaving in Otago/Southland and puts in countless volunteer hours into various operational areas”.


Charlotte Aburn, representing Brighton SLSC, was honoured with the Sportsperson of the Year award.  In her debut year in the Opens category, Aburn demonstrated exceptional consistency throughout the season.


At the highly competitive 2023 TSB New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, Charlotte won gold in the U15 Female Diamond and Run Swim Run events.  She also earned silver in the U15 Female Surf Race.


At the 2023 Southern Region Championships, Aburn emerge as the Top Overall U15 Female athlete.  This award came after she secured gold in the U15 Female Diamond, Run Swim Run, Surf Race and Board Race events.  She also earned the bronze medal in the U15 Female Beach Sprints, and achieved an impressive fourth-place finish in the U15 Female Board Race.


Aburn’s achievements in her first year in the Opens category serves as a testament to her dedication and hard work.  She shows great promise for future years to come across multiple disciplines.


The SLSNZ Otago/Southland Awards of Excellence brought together Surf Life Saving Clubs from across the South Island, including Warrington, St Kilda, St Clair, Brighton, Kaka Point and Oreti.


The SLSNZ National Awards of Excellence will take place on 23rd September at Te Papa in Wellington.



Full List of Winners:


Surf Official of the Year

Kate Jerram – St Kilda


Event Guard of the Year

Lara Tyndall – St Clair


Coach of the Year

Rosie Falcous – St Clair


Service to Junior Coaching

Chris & Sarah Chittock – Kaka Point


Sports Team of the Year

St Kilda Under 23 Female IRB Team

Emily Peacock & Madi Loudon


Sports Person of the Year

Charlotte Aburn - Brighton


Regional Lifeguard of the Year

Madi Loudon – St Kilda


Beach Education Instructor of the Year

Gabby Trotter - Brighton


Instructor of the Year

Carla Murray – St Clair/Kaka Point


Rescue of the Year

St Clair SLSC and St Kilda SLSC – 4th February 2023


Rookie Lifeguard of the Year

Tim O’Brien - Oreti


Patrol Support of the Year

Gregor Chrystal – St Kilda


Lifeguard of the Year

Madelene Ozanne - Warrington


Presidents Trophy for Outstanding Contribution

Paul Gager - Warrington


Volunteer of the Year

Felix Cook – St Kilda


Patrol Club of the Year

Brighton SLSC


Club of the Year

Brighton SLSC