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Safe hands in the air - and in the surf

Safe hands in the air - and in the surf
Media statement
For immediate release
9 September 2014

Many 24-year-olds dream of spending all day at the beach. For Gisborne surf lifesaver Connor O’Loughlin, this is his reality as he completes his training for the Life Saving World Championships in Montpellier, France.

Connor trains 10 times a week to achieve his ambition of taking gold in the Beach Flags competition at the world championships later this month, an event in which he has been largely undefeated nationally.

There are not many jobs which allow the time for that sort of commitment outside of the workplace, and Connor says his choice of a career as an air traffic controller is a perfect fit for his drive and dedication to reach his goal.

“I’ve worked for Airways for a couple of years and it’s perfect for me. It would be almost impossible to do the level of training I need if I was working a normal working week, so in that respect it’s great,” he says.

“There are also some real synergies between the drive needed to get me training at the level I am, and the intensive training and focus needed on the job,” says Connor.

Hadley Cave is Chief Controller at Gisborne Tower. He says that the team at Airways are entirely supportive of Connor as he heads off to France.

“Connor has himself in the perfect situation, with the ability to work flexible shifts within our roster to meet his training commitments, while still holding down a full time job,” he says.

“Surf lifesaving requires intensive training, and the ability to cope well in stressful situations. The type of people who become air traffic controllers can deal with stress quite efficiently, so Connor’s found himself the perfect match.”

Connor was photographed in his competition uniform, on an off-duty day in the Gisborne Airport control tower.

“As you can see, we have a good laugh to take the pressure off when we’re not on the job,” Hadley says.

Connor leaves New Zealand on 10 September for Rescue 2014, the Life Saving World Championships, which will be held in France from 22 to 28 September.


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