Spotlight on Caroline Noller

Spotlight on Caroline Noller

Introducing Caroline Noller from SLSA President Graham Ford's own patrol, No 10.   Caro is a seasoned Clubbie but only joined us at Bronte relatively recently. 

What brought you to Bronte SLSC?  I have been living on and off in Eastern Suburbs for a very long time.  When I was very young, I did my Bronze medallion at North Bondi and in later years I was competing for Bondi but it was through Kimberly and the Splashers that I joined Bronte Surf Club.

For the uninitiated, who or what are the Splashers? The Bronte Splashers is the oldest winter swimming club in the world. They swim every Sunday morning at 9.30am from the start of May to the end of September (in normal, non-Covid times). Not only does Caro swim every Sunday but she also helps with social media and admin, including making videos for the Splashers that can be viewed on their Facebook page

As a Splasher of 10 years I got to know Emma Finnerty, Col McDermid, Willie and Palfrey and the gang, and through them Kimberly.  She and I would chat on and off about the need to get more women at Bronte SLSC to try competition.  Kimberly thought it would be a good idea to get me on board to try and help with this.  But that's not the only thing that pulled me to the Club. My connection to Bronte also stems from my help at the Bondi to Bronte (B2B) which I have long supported.

You talk about competition, what was your favourite event?  I competed in just about everything apart from individual ski and beach sprint at Bondi and was very proud to add to their gold medal pool.  It was inspirational to be able to train with some of Surf Life Saving's world champions, particularly some of the women: Dori Miller, Virginia Pope, Laura Thurtell.  When I came to Bronte my aim was to provide some inspiration to others in the same way. 

Thanks to Dave Finnimore, Club Captain, James McLennan and his wife Kirsty and others the drive to get more to upskill in the water at Bronte has worked as there are loads now.

What do you love about your patrol:  Patrol 10 is 100% competitors! We all love that fact, and use patrol to have fun sharpening our skills. Not to mention our admiration for our fearless leader Graham – and of course the inspiring Trish – who is about the only other person I know who loves soft sand running as much as I do!!  I love to be involved with the Club where possible.  Work has taken me away from competition so my eyes are on next season. The Club is a voluntary organisation and it is important that it should stay fun. 

Before you settled back at Bronte where else did life and work take you? I have lived in New Zealand, Thailand and spent some time in the UK.  I did some Surf Life Saving in Bangkok. I ran lessons for kids, organised carnivals etc.  Swimming lessons is not normally something the locals get access to because they live on the river, there's no formal training for them, a lot don't even go to school full time so it was really lovely to do this for the kids of the local people and give something back to the community whilst I was there.

And what do you do when not at the Club? I.E.  What's your day job?   I am founder and CEO of The Footprint Company.  Our purpose is to enable the architectural community to make low carbon footprint design decisions.  Currently universities have no formal course in this area but it is our aim to skill architects to halve their carbon footprint in every decision they make, every building they make to hopefully enable us to live well within the resources and constraints of the planet - particularly in Australia.  Ironically Covid is helping us to re-set.  In our day to day lives we have been over-consuming the planet.  We need buildings but the materials we use to provide them really can affect our future.  I am still in awe of the fact that through the company we have helped void 3 years of Australia's household emissions through the building work that we do.

What do you most want from here? Ultimately in work and in play I'd love to have a ripple effect through community.  I am very grateful to be able to encourage and inspire women and others to get involved in competing and being more involved with Bronte and with my day job I am really grateful to have the capacity to work with architects and in both aspects of my life to go some way to enable others, with their own hands, make amazing things happen. 

What is your favourite Bronte rescue/moment?  As ever there are too many to really list here but I think my favourite rescues are those that occur on Sunday night at 7.30pm when some tourist gets into trouble. I've watched, and participated in, a number of after-hours rescues.   But my favourite Bronte moment this season was at the B2B.  Trish Ford and I were overwhelmed (in a good way) by the number of on the day entries, 500+.  A lovely and crazy problem to have that shows the great popularity of it!

We've covered a lot of ground here but what is on your bucket list?  Apart from ski touring in both Greenland and Antarctica – it would be to win an Aussie gold medal for Bronte and be on wall with all the guys! I am on the wall at Bondi but would love to be able to contribute to Bronte's bucket of gold medals.

 What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Bronte SLSC and doing their bronze? If you are going to do your Bronze at Bronte, shy of Tamarama it's the toughest place to learn water skills because it's such a tricky beach so it's a great beach to build strong water skills. As for the club it's one of the more genuine clubs to be a part of, more open, the people make you feel welcome and encourage you to participate and that comes from the leadership of the club-  James, Basil, Dave, Kimberly - it has great equanimity to it and that's quite unique and a great thing that we have got to offer people from a 'give it a go' point of view.  We've got a really unique vibe! The participation in all levels of the club year-round is amazing and it is full of outstanding community characters.