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Surf Life Saving NZ’s elite surf lifeguards level up

Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s elite surf lifeguards level up at National Lifeguard School

A group of Kiwi heroes already dedicated to saving lives are about to become even more super, when they hit the beaches for this season’s National Lifeguard School. This training will upskill them to Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s (SLSNZ) highest lifeguard qualification – The Advanced Lifeguard Award.

20 lifeguards from around the country will be learning about some of the more difficult and demanding emergency situations surf lifeguards can face, including mass rescue scenarios, helicopter operations, search and rescue operations and working alongside other agencies including NZ Police, Fire and Emergency, and St John in complex scenarios and technical rescues.

The school takes place from December 7 to 9, at Fitzroy Beach in New Plymouth, where candidates will be taught theory and practical skills, run through acted scenarios, and tested physically and mentally, to try to attain the Advanced Lifeguard Award.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Education Manager Belinda Slement said “this year we had 46 applications and only 20 places in the school to offer, so the lifeguards selected to attend are already the cream of the crop.

“They’re already out there saving lives on our beaches before they reach this school, but going to this level will ultimately help their local beaches a lot safer.”

Slement said the intensive and action-packed school gives the volunteer surf lifeguards the chance to try the new skills and see how situations might play out, with expert instructors able to guide them and talk them through examples from actual rescues.

“This is the super-elite of our training. Around the country surf lifeguards get faced with a varied level of complex situations, and these advanced lifeguards will be skilled in how to direct their patrol members when challenging situations happen. These are the people selected from their clubs to learn the most technical skills and to put that to use in the most challenging situations when lives are on the line.

“Also remember that they’re all volunteers, which is just incredible. We are so thankful to have such a passionate group of people who dedicate their own time to helping others,” she added.

Last season 5,200 volunteer SLSNZ lifeguards nationally clocked up more than 230,000 patrols hours on the beach, carried out 1,062 rescues for people in life-threatening situations and helped another 2,375 people in potentially dangerous situations.

Some of the skills the young lifeguards learn at National Lifeguard School include:
• Navigation through rocky waters and rescues from rocks
• Advanced first aid and patient care
• Identifying stages of drowning
• Recognising the body’s emotional and physical responses to crisis
• Directing rescues while maintaining beach patrols
• Directing search and rescue operations
• Leadership and communication in emergency situations
• Working with helicopter crews and other emergency agencies

Candidates for this year’s National Lifeguard School are:
• Samuel Reinen, Orewa
• Alex Taylor, Kariaotahi
• Madi McQuoid, Tairua
• Phoebe Havill, Onemana
• Hamish Clayton, Waihi
• Jamie Lock, Pauanui
• Felix Cook, Mount Maunganui
• Louis Birkhead, Wainui
• Steffan John, Wainui
• Simon Kay, Pacific
• Paul Turner, East End
• J’Adoube Elkington, Titahi Bay
• Ella Sims, Riversdale
• Cameron Turchie, Lyall Bay
• Harry Roberts, South Brighton
• Rachael Cleeve, Waimairi
• Beca Evans, Waikuku
• Ossian Woods, St Clair
• Blake Porteous, Brighton
• Jake Simpson, Sumner

Instructors and Mentors for this year are:
• Head Instructor – Seth McPhee, Brighton
• Instructor – Chris Harrison, Ocean Beach Kiwi
• Instructor – David Clarke, United North PIha
• Instructor – Adam Fraser, Fitzroy
• Instructor – Kate Suter, Sumner
• Instructor – James Lloyd, Waihi Beach
• Mentor – Tom Denman, Sumner
• Mentor – Sam Teteina, Bethells Beach
• Mentor – Nathan Berry, Levin-Waitarere
• Mentor – Toni Cranko, Sumner

The annual National Lifeguard School will be held at Fitzroy Beach Surf Life Saving Club from Friday December 7 to Sunday December 9.


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