1. What brought you to Bronte SLSC?
I first visited Bronte Beach in 1991. I was a young, British Army officer on leave after 7 months sweltering in the utterly featureless Syrian and Arabian deserts. On the plane to Sydney, I spoke to someone who recommended that the first thing I do upon landing was to go for a swim at Bronte. A few hours later, I stood for the first-time marvelling at the little slice of heaven that was Bronte. I had arrived during a summer storm and remember the warm sheets of rain sweeping Bronte’s sandy shore, as rollers burst across the reef and pool. It was in such utter contrast to where I come from, that I pretty much decided that I would not only go for a swim, but in fact one day move and live here.
2. Your own childhood - was it beach, bush or burbs?
Beach. I grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Life on the coast in the 1970s was fishing the sand gutters for whiting and bream, exploring the dunes and surfing, surfing, surfing. My first board was an enormous Haydn 9-footer that my Father would cart down to Tea Tree Bay and I would ride the length of that sweeping crescent of a bay. (Alexandria and Tea Tree Bay at Noosa are still superb right-handers but a little rocky these days). Nothing could top a day at the beach and my Mum used to know when I wagged school because I would come home sunburnt and sandy. My wife, (Ria) also knows when I skip work, because the same thing still happens.
3. What do you do around the Club?
Patrol 19 – the ‘last patrol’ and our mission is to prevent (the mostly) water-based mishaps of the Sunday afternoon crowd of Bronte beach-goers. We do have the occasional rescue, but the diligence of our patrol team keeps us and the Waverly Lifeguards largely dry. One of our team, Cathal Murphy has done more ‘preventative’ rescues than I can remember. Cathal is like a very friendly, but obsessively protective Irish Wolfhound, constantly herding his flock of cheerful and occasionally hapless swimmers between the flags. I’ve seen him physically pluck people out of a rip and back onto a sandbank to safety.
4. What's your favourite Bronte 'moment’?
Sausage in a bun, after a swim on a sunny, Sunday morning.
5. What would you tell anyone who wanted to become more involved in the Club?
A cliché to be sure – but the more you do, the more fun you have. You get all the support you need from a friendly leadership team. Most importantly we need you - so please volunteer for further training opportunities.
N.B. Tim Jefferies and I will be running a Gold Medallion training squad this year - so email me if you want to join - it is a super fun challenge. The next Gold assessment is in December 2018 - so plenty of time to get fit and achieve the pre-qualification you need!