Proud to be their Patron
On Sunday, returning to an annual meeting of South Maroubra Surf Club, I was reminded of the powerful force surf lifesaving is in Australian life. No federal or state MP representing a beachside electorate would be unaware of it.
I’m proud to be the Life Patron of South Maroubra.
And I was hugely impressed by the quality of their leadership – surf lifesaving has given a lot of young Australians their first taste of leadership – and the contribution they make to the community. For example 523 Nippers had completed surf education awards, acquiring water safety skills on the sand of South Maroubra.
The basic function of the surf club remains safety. There were 261 rescues compared to 101 in the previous season because of the extreme conditions of last summer. Sadly there were two fatalities. A woman had entered a southern rip in very dangerous conditions the day before Australia Day at 8pm. And only a week later a young man went swimming in the rip between South Maroubra and the centre of the beach. He was never found.
In an age when fast food and physical inactivity is condemning Australians to diabetes and other obesity-diseases, the surf club movement justifies the support it receives from government by mobilising young people for uniquely Australian sporting competitions in the context of overall fitness and conditioning.
Peter Garrett, the federal member and Minister for School Education was at the annual general meeting telling me about a local rally for clean energy that had drawn hundreds of supporters to Coogee on Saturday.