1.What brought you to Bronte SLSC?
When I was in year 7 at St Catherine’s, one of my friends (Alice Tricks) was doing nippers and she invited me along. Once I started coming I fell in love with Bronte. I took a break during year 11 and 12, but once I finished school dad roped me back in to get my Bronze and join the IRB team
My two daughters Sophie and Emily decided to join Bronte Nippers after being invited by a school friend. As I could only assist them in the water by doing my Bronze I signed up for a Bronze Course in 2008.
2. Your own childhood - was it beach, bush or burbs?
There was definitely a lot of beach in my childhood but probably more harbour beaches like Nielsen Park and Parsley Bay, so when I came to Bronte I definitely needed to get used to the waves!
I grew up in West-Berlin which has a large number of lakes, rivers and swimming pools, so water and swimming was the main summer entertainment. I joined a local swim club when I was around 11 and did squad training for several years. When counting pool tiles became boring I joined the water polo team and played in the local competition. After changing clubs a few years later, I was given the opportunity to play in the second Bundesliga* before migrating to Australia with my wife at the age of 26.
3. What do you do around the Club?
I’m a member of patrol 6 and a crew person on the IRB team.
After doing my Bronze Medallion I very quickly completed my Crew Certificate and soon after joined the Bronte IRB Team and Patrol 19 with our current Club Captain James McLennan as my Patrol Captain.
When I joined the IRB team in 2008, the IRB shed and the available IRB gear was in need of some major work/fixing.
With financial support from the club and the help of our in-house engineer Jason King, we started an action plan to convert the shed to what it is now.
Having functional gear and a tidy IRB shed makes it easy for drivers and crewies to come down to the beach and do their patrol. Their main focus can be on rescuing swimmers and surfers in need of help instead of worrying whether the engine is going to start or stop working when a 3 m wave is chasing them!
4. What's your favorite Bronte 'moment'?
Probably doing the Silver Medallion ‘Search and Rescue’ Course. One of the reasons I keep signing up for Bronte every year is for a sense of adventure and excitement. Everything on that course fulfilled that. There was a night search, rock jumps, line searches and deep dives to retrieve mannequins.
It is difficult to say as there are so many moments which stand out: Receiving the Frank Norton Clubman of The Year award a few years back was a great moment and of course also the President’s Award a few years later but what counts most for me is that I was given the honour to lead the Bronte IRB Team as the IRB Captain for the last 6 years.
5. What would you tell anyone who wanted to become more involved in the Club?
Do it! It’s only a once a month commitment but you will want to come down more. I’ve made so many friends and learnt so much since being part of Bronte and there is no better feeling than when you help someone who is in trouble on the beach. All the training courses are fantastic and once you get your Bronze medallion, you’ll just want to keep up-skilling.
Take the opportunity to meet people and give back to the community.
(*) Editor’s note: this is a huge deal, Jochen is being very modest here :)