Newsletter – January 28, 2022

Hello Members,

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the summer break, whether in or out of isolation! January has super busy with lots of activity on the beach and around the club. This edition provides a wrap up of the summer season, congratulations to Bob Stewart, a reflection from our Nipper Captains and an afternoon swim.

It has been great to see so many members enjoying our beautiful beach and facilities. To ensure everyone has the same experience, please remember to respect the club’s equipment and facilities. The club’s culture of helping out, sweeping sand, putting equipment away and supporting each other, all contribute to keeping our club great.

Season Wrap

There has been lots of activity since Boxing Day. We are thankful to have completed the Nipper program, SRC / Bronze training squads and the majority of the U15 program.

A typical day looked a little like this:

  • 7.30am to 8.30am – Yoga
  • 8.00am to 10.00am SRC/Bronze water session
  • 9.00am to 12noon – U15 program
  • 9.30am to 12.45pm – Merch Shop open
  • 10.00am to 12.15pm – Nippers program
  • 12noon – Sausage sizzle
  • 2.00pm to 4.00pm – SRC/Bronze theory session and U15 program
  • 4.00pm – Sunset Bar open
  • 5.30pm – Meals open

The Merchandise Shop has been providing us with fantastic options to suit the ever-changing weather conditions and the Kiosk has been buzzing with coffee, great food options, ice-creams and much more! A big thank you to Charlie, Cathie, Rachael and team in the Merch Shop and George and team in the Kiosk.

December means requal, and over multiple sessions the following awards were requalified:

  • 113 Bronze
  • 17 SRC (Surf Rescue Certificate)
  • 21 ART (Advanced Resuscitation Techniques)
  • 19 IRB Crew 11 IRB Drivers

Our patrol teams have faced tricky and challenging surf conditions during January. There have been many rescues and I know some grateful swimmers. Thanks to all Lifeguards and patrol teams… we are grateful for all you do.

In addition to our core activities, we are thankful to have held other activities, including:

Welcome and Smoking Ceremony

We were delighted to welcome Brett Clarke and his family for a welcome and smoking ceremony on the first day of Nippers. We are grateful for the words of wisdom, stories and song Brett shared with us all. We look forward to doing some further work with the Eastern Maar people.

Nipper Captains and Leadership Group

Our inaugural Nipper Captains for the 2021/22 Season, Bridget Sherry and Sidney Johns have led the way during the Nipper season. Their reflections of the season to date are below. A huge thanks and congratulations to Bridget, Sidney and the Nipper Leadership Group; Alexandra Green, Alice Wilcox, Georgia Benton, Olivia Webb, Oscar Doggett and Xavier West… we are in good hands!

Left to Right – Olivia Webb, Georgia Benton, Alice Wilcox, Alex Green, Sidney Johns, Bridget Sherry, Oscar Doggett, Xavier West

Rainbow Patrol

We celebrated Fairhaven’s inaugural Rainbow Patrol on 28 December, recognising the wonderful contributions of Fairhaven’s LGBTQIA + active members and allies. It was a busy day on the beach with a few rescues and the Rainbow team represented Fairhaven well. Congratulations to all who attended, we encourage our members to show their support again next season at Rainbow Patrol.

River Swim

Great to see a good crowd of Nippers and adults for the Annual River Swim. Thanks to Liam and the water safety team. Always a few rumours about who won… so watch this space for the official results!

Marine Mammal Foundation Workshop

An optional session to attend one afternoon, Tanya said she stopped counting at 70 Nippers who participated in a Marine Litter Workshop to learn about Victoria’s unique marine mammals, including the newly discovered and critically endangered Burrunan dolphins, Australian fur seals, and our humpback whale visitors… just to name a few! Thanks to the Marnie Mammal Foundation for visiting and engaging our Nippers and families.

Young Members Drinks

We had a great turnout at our young members get together! Jenga was the game of the night… not sure who won! Thank you to our young members for all you do at the club. The time and enthusiasm you put in is infectious and keeps our club thriving.

Pink Patrol

We celebrated our fantastic active women on the annual pink patrol… great to see so many new bronzies in attendance. Surf conditions were a little tricky with Penny Donnan doing a couple of tube rescues. Thanks to Penny and Issy for leading the team and to Vanessa for the pink cupcakes!

Presentations, Pizza and Paella

After a day of Nipper Club Champs at Pt Roadknight it was great to celebrate the achievements of our Nippers and thank the wonderful AGMs, coaches and water safety teams. Bridget and Sidney took the mic and delivered outstanding thank you speeches. Thanks to the amazing Mel and Tanya for their dedication and hours of work.

Nipper Certificates and Ice-creams

The weather wasn’t on our side for the last day of Nippers. With a strong easterly blowing, we asked families to come down at noon to collect certificates, a sausage or two and a Gelato Gelato ice-cream. Thanks to Tom Wilcox for managing the sausage sizzle and Gelato Gelato (Stephanie and Dean Lewis) for providing the delicious ice-creams… a great way to finish a Nipper season!

We unfortunately had to move to a virtual event for the Tim Gates Fun Run/Walk and postpone the Senior Club Champs and Ladies Lunch… watch this space for new dates.

Congratulations to Bob Stewart

Bob Stewart has been recognised for his long-standing service to surf lifesaving and awarded a National Medal, a significant and outstanding achievement.

Bob did his Bronze in December 1963 and was on patrol in the afternoon. Bob has been patrolling at Fairhaven except for a few years when called up (name drawn at random) to do National Service.

At Preston Tech with Neil ‘Nudge’ Riddell, Howard Hughes and a few others, Howard encouraged them to come down to Fairhaven as they needed swimmers. So, after a day trip to Fairhaven with Russell Hughes, Nudge and Howard, Bob thought ‘this is pretty good’ and kept coming back!

The bunkhouse at the time was a couple of old builder’s sheds on the bunkhouse site and the only way to stay was to do patrols so began the long relationship with lifesaving.

In about 1980, the club acquired an IRB, the boat used to sit underneath the clubhouse and was not used. Bob asked permission one day to use the IRB, purchased some fuel and taught himself to drive! And for 30 years plus Bob has been driving the IRB, getting all the required qualifications along the way, challenging many a crew person (myself included), surfing the boat down big waves and losing a few cowls along the way!

As no-one was interested in being IRB Captain, Bob took on the role for 14 years straight, then had a few further stints when the role was vacant.

If there was a big sea running, which is most days at Fairhaven, you could always count on Bob to get out the back and back in safely.

On the 22nd of January 2012, Bob was on patrol when Fairhaven received a call that the were swimmers in trouble at Urquharts Bluff. Bob and new IRB crew, Brad Ross jumped in the IRB and went around the corner to Urquharts and rescued six distressed swimmers. They were awarded an SLSA Meritorious Award with Bronze Insert for their efforts to bring the swimmers back to shore.

Bob has been a keen competitor in both surfboats and swim events. He started as a junior (U16) and was the youngest rower in Victoria rowing in the Open category. Ironically, he is now one of the oldest surfboat rowers!

Bob transferred to Lorne to row surfboats and the crew won a Bronze at the Victorian Championships and came 5th at the Australian Championships at Collaroy. At the same event, Bob also competed in Surf Teams and achieved another 5th place in the final. Bob rowed for three years at Lorne, was then called up for two years National Service and then back to Fairhaven.

Bob remembers that at Carnivals there were hessian bags placed at each end of the competition area and it cost 50c to get into the carnival area!

As you can appreciate, after 58 years there are many more stories to tell and some that will have ‘aged’ over time!

Congratulations and a heartfelt thanks for your dedication to Fairhaven and lifesaving.

Nipper Captain’s Reflection

Since I started Nippers in U9 I have made so many friends and learnt so many things. Nippers gives you so many life skills, like the first aid that we get taught. Hopefully we won’t need to use in real life situations but if we do we are prepared.

The idea of swimming or boarding out the back to the cans I know may freak some of you out, but we have amazing specialist coaches and water safety, you won’t have time to worry because you will be back to shore already!

I have learnt how the surf conditions can change rapidly, about different animals that live in our oceans and about all the opportunities after our final year of nippers has finished. Nippers is an amazing experience, you make so many friends and try so many new activities.

I love being a part of the Fairhaven family and I am sure I will stay a part of it for a long time. It has been an honour being a Nipper Captain this year, and I have had some great opportunities being part of the Leadership Group. I had a lot of fun and recommend applying!

We have had some crazy conditions this season and I have seen everyone improve their skills and confidence, whether it’s our surf skills or our sand technique. Club champs were at Pt Roadknight this year (although I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t) and we had some great conditions. All of those competing tried their best. We had some pushing through injuries, and many overcame fears. AND IT DIDN’T RAIN! BONUS!

This season was great and I’m sure the next one will be too. See you all on the beach!

Bridget Sherry

For me, Nippers has always and will always be the heart and soul of Fairhaven; it brings the whole club together. Coaches helping boys and girls hone their skills, water safety making sure everyone gets around the courses safely, and obviously, the parent’s and AGM’s, supporting us from the sidelines.

I have participated in Nippers for the past 8 years, Mozzies (U6s) to U13s. Through that time there have been many changes to the Nipper Program. There have been many fantastic Nipper coordinators and coaches and I have had 2 great AGM’s. But through all this change over the years, one thing has remained the same – the commitment and passion shown by all our coaches, water safety, parents and AGM’s.

This commitment to supporting Nippers has been really important to me. I have never enjoyed ocean swimming and I struggled to complete any swim, purely because I was absolutely petrified of bigger waves. Many long-standing water safety volunteers will attest to the fact that I just did not want to do the swims. It took an awful lot of encouragement and nearly three years of work, but thanks to the encouragement and support of the many water safety volunteers, I can now say that I have overcome that fear.

This year, as one of the inaugural Nippers Captains, I had the opportunity to share my experiences, and use them to support and encourage younger Nippers struggling in the same way that I had. It was an enormous privilege to support the younger boys. In addition, it provided me with the opportunity to make many new friends on the beach.

It has been an honour to be one of the Fairhaven 2021/2022 Nipper Captains. Being a Nippers leader has been a wonderful opportunity and I highly recommend the current U12s to apply for the role. I hope to see everyone in the water or on the beach (playing cricket of course!). I hope you enjoy the remainder of the school holidays.

Sidney Johns

Afternoon Swim

At around 2.50pm the stalwarts of the club make their way down for a daily 3pm swim. Each day they meet, not far from the patrol tent, chat for a little while and get ready for a swim, often in vintage merch! Eventually one takes the lead and heads towards the water with the others following closely behind. Keeping a close eye on each other they head out between the flags into the ocean they all know so well, having swum here for 50 plus years. Whilst sometimes the ocean knocks them around, they all eventually come back out, chat for a little while longer and say goodbye.

On the day this photo was taken, there was a strong current and rip. Nudge and Bob were swimming out the back and saw two swimmers in trouble, so they swam over to help them, while the lifeguards were on their way. Whilst there is a rumour circulating that one in the group (far right… Neil Riddell) is in the shame file, the vigilance and service never leaves you.

We are grateful to have so many long-standing members at Fairhaven who have served in multiple roles over the years. As custodians of this great movement, everything we do should be about respecting the past, implementing innovations and new ways of thinking, and making decisions to leave the organisation in a better place.

Social Media

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Stay safe and stay well,

Nancy Joseph
[email protected]