Above and beyond

Every surf club president, and every member, in every club wants to be able to hold up an Annual Report and reflect on a year with ‘no lives lost’. And that is as it should be.

But what if a club wanted more? What if a club set new goals, set new standards? What if we reimagined lifesaving as something beyond the commitment we provide to Council and the service we provide the community. What if CSLSC was ‘a lifestyle for a lifetime’ – something that continued to evolve and grow, something that outlived all of us.

Sure, for a certain number of years your focus would be patrolling Cronulla beach, dutifully fulfilling our obligations, offering safety to those who come to enjoy ‘our beach’. But after that, and perhaps on top of that, you would be committed to a set of values that could influence the community more broadly and make our little slice of heaven even safer. Going ‘above and beyond’.

Training, coaching, acting as an advocate (or in the current vernacular, an influencer) – anything that might enhance the safety of the people around us. An enhanced ‘service’ delivering an even greater stewardship of Cronulla and the adjacent areas.

We would look to engage non-members (yes, non-members), the hundreds of regulars, the locals in the Complex, the restaurants and cafes. The Shark Island swimmers, the surfers, the walkers, the people that are lucky enough to wake up to this magnificent view. This influence would allow us to have additional surveillance and maybe, just maybe, help save a life outside our prescribed remit – maybe that’s away from our beloved Cronulla beach or outside our usual hours – but it is a life.

This idea isn’t new, CSLSC’s last two Meritorious Awards were won in precisely this context. But what if the ‘new’ thinking was that we looked at our role, our beach, and our community with this higher expectation. Not as an exception but an aspiration that would become a norm.

A higher bar, sure. A bar we may fall short of, sure. But isn’t that the definition of ‘vigilance and service’ that we wish to strive for? Isn’t the pursuit of these skills and this ability to influence ‘better’?

Many years ago, the likes of Barry Ezzy and Geoff Foreshaw led our club, District and Branch. They led lifesaving and created a legacy that was, quite appropriately, recognised in this week’s Australia Day honours, but in my opinion, it is our privilege to build on that, not rest on it.

Yesterday, the actions of Patrol 5, led by Adam Watson, Emma Larssen and Marcus Kennedy offered further evidence of this level of service. Their ability to act effectively with the lifeguards, Jack Robertson and Richard Garnsey (also CSLSC members) was crucial. This, again, is something ‘above and beyond’.

The exceptional surveillance and actions of Bradley Dunn were the catalyst for actions that undoubtedly saved the life of a swimmer at Shelly Beach. His commitment to rescue training, in this case the Jet ski, and the quality of the execution of the skills of this 20 year old lifesaver cannot be understated or undervalued. We are all so proud of you.

On behalf of all CSLSC members I write to acknowledge and thank these patrolling members, and all patrolling members. But as we reflect on this event, I also wanted to ask you to consider some context, to acknowledge the wonderful legacy created by people like Barry and Geoff, and the future that is being created by young members of the calibre of Bradley Dunn. It is this context that allows us to be purposeful about our future.

As I said at the last lifesaving meeting, I can’t recall a time when our patrols have been stronger. On behalf of the community and club, we thank you for your dedication.

Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased, but also focused on how we can continue to offer the vigilance and service that has made this club so great for the past 115 seasons.

Brad Turner