THE Surf Club season can't come quickly enough for last year's South Coast Branch Junior Surf Lifesavers of the Year.
Shellharbour Surf Life Saving Club's Nathan Troiani and Nowra-Culburra's Amy Abbey received the award at the 2013 Junior Lifesaver of the Year development camp as recognition of their commitment and ability to compete at an elite junior level.
They beat a host of other well-credentialled youngsters along the way after an extensive selection process.
Nathan Troiani has been a Nipper for eight years. "I just love competing, especially in the beach flags," he said.
"I love representing the club and branch and this year competed at branch, inter branch, the Sydney Water series and at country, and the camp was a great experience.
"I didn't know anyone at the camp, apart from Amy who I knew from our branch, so meeting and getting to know everyone else from around the state was one of the best experiences."
Until the age of 11, Nowra-Culburra Surf Club Nipper Amy Abbey had a bit of a problem - she was terrified of waves. But earlier this year, the now 14-year-old member was named a South Coast junior surf lifesaving champion along with Nathan.
She has not only conquered her fear of the surf, but completed her first two patrols and has no doubt she will be able to save someone's life when the time comes.
Amy first joined the Nippers when she was just four years of age.
The Abbey family live in Canberra but have commuted to their house at Callala Beach every weekend for 15 years.
Amy loved the calm waters of Callala Beach but didn't want to know about the big waves of Culburra.
"I was OK in Nippers up until the under-11s, because before that we didn't do big swims out in the ocean," Amy said.
"I wouldn't go in the water at all - I wouldn't go on the big swim and I wouldn't get on a board."
She paid tribute to her coach, Col Lawrence, for motivating her to take the plunge. "Col would swim out with me, side by side," she said.
"I started doing more swimming in the pool in Canberra during the week and I started to be faster and stronger."
Visit the www.surflifesaving.com.au/get-involved website for more details.