The best and brightest among the Coast’s dedicated surf lifesaving movement were honoured over the long weekend when Surf Life Saving Central Coast (SLSCC) held their 2019-20 Awards of Excellence.
The annual awards are a celebration of the region’s volunteer lifesavers and those that support them in keeping beachgoers safe, and were held exclusively online for the first time due to COVID-19.
SLSCC announced this year’s winner via video on June 7, with hundreds of locals tuning in to honour their peers.
Shelly Beach SLSC was the most decorated club from the northern end of the Coast, taking out five awards.
Ramzy Fawzy kicked things off for Shelly when he was named Assessor of the Year, with James Koch and Daniel Kingsley following soon after with Open Athlete of the Year and Administrator of the Year respectively.
The club’s Education Team then took out Service Team of the Year before Paul Dowdell capped off their night with one of the awards’ highest honours, Lifesaver of the Year.
Toowoon Bay SLSC’s Chris Fillingham was also recognised on the night with the Assessor of the Year Award.
Shelly Beach SLSC Director of Surf Sports, Peter Zaibergs, said that this was the best result ever for the club at the Awards of Excellence and he attributed that to the efforts of each awardee.
“All of our individual winners are diligent and passionate athletes, trainers and educators.
“We’re extremely proud of them and know that their awards are well deserved,” he said.
Peter also paid tribute to SLSCC for their handling of this year’s awards under unprecedented circumstances.
“It was purely unfortunate that we couldn’t have our regular awards ceremony, but SLSCC did a great job given the situation.
“It was handled very professionally and everyone that I have spoken to has said that they enjoyed watching the video,” Peter said.
With the awards now over for another year, clubs are turning their attention back to preparations for the season return in spring, which will be tougher for some, given the financial ramifications of COVID-19.
Shelly Beach SLSC is no exception, but Peter said members were remaining positive.
“We run a restaurant and bar and are self-managed, so it has been tough, but the Club Committee is confident that we’ll pull through and be ready for summer, with the restaurant and bar to reopen on June 24,” Peter said.
With its return, along with that of the surf club’s onsite café, which is already trading under current government guidelines, things are slowly getting back to normal.
Video, Jun 7
Surf Life Saving Central Coast 2019-20 Awards of Excellence
Interview, Jun 9
Shelly Beach SLSC
Reporter: Dilon Luke