It helped me overcome my fear of the surf : SLS award winner

For a decade, Kaitlin Isabella has volunteered with Surf Life Saving NSW and last month she was recognised at the South Coast Branch Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence for her dedication to the movement, when she took out Senior Female Competitor of the Year.

“I have previously won under 23 Club Person of the Year at club level and last year along with my fellow teams mates, Naida Guy, Kirsty Honey and Chloe Backen, we won South Coast Branch Team of the Year,” she said.

“It was an honour – I did not expect to be nominated let alone take out the award.

“I was very humbled to be recognised by my fellow club members and team mates for my efforts in IRB racing.” 

Ms Isabella said IRB Racing was all about being part of a team and she could not have achieved the results without her crew, coach and team mates.

“They continue to push me to achieve the best results I can,” she said. 

“Essentially, I was a latecomer into the movement as many people begin their surf lifesaving experience through nippers.

“I never competed in nippers and only joined the movement as two of my friends who had been involved in surf club from a young age convinced me to join so that I could race in the IRB team.

“I have never looked back since – I am grateful for the opportunities I have been provided with through surf lifesaving.”

For me personally, surf lifesaving helped me overcome my fear of the surf. Even up until a couple of years ago, I used to be scared to compete in big surf. I have finally conquered that fear and find myself competing in surf I never imagined I would. - Kaitlin Isabella - Kiama Downs SLSC

Ms Isabella said surf lifesaving was important to her as it was a way of giving back to the community by volunteering and saving lives on South Coast beaches.  

“It is also a great way to meet friends and like minded people with a passion for promoting safety awareness at our beaches,” she said. 

“For me personally, surf lifesaving helped me overcome my fear of the surf. Even up until a couple of years ago, I used to be scared to compete in big surf. I have finally conquered that fear and find myself competing in surf I never imagined I would.” 

In 2014 when Ms Isabella moved to Adelaide for work, surf Lifesaving provided a great way for her to meet people.

“I did not know anyone in Adelaide prior to me moving, but my connections in the Surf Life Saving movement allowed me to find a surf club to join over there and I patrolled and competed for that club and made many lifelong friends,” she said.

“The opportunities in surf lifesaving are endless; from being a trainer promoting safety awareness on our beaches and improving my communication skills, to travelling around Australia competing and to making lifelong friends.

“There is something for everyone in surf lifesaving and you are never too old to join.”

THE AWARDS

The South Coast Branch Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence was held last month to recognise their valued volunteers. 

South Coast Branch consists of nine surf life saving clubs including, Warilla-Barrack Point, Shellharbour, Kiama Downs, Kiama, Gerringong, Shoalhaven Heads, Nowra-Culburra, Sussex Inlet and Mollymook and between them patrol 11 beaches over summer.

More than $42,000 in Rescue and Lifesaving equipment was distributed to the clubs on the night. 

Other award winners from Kiama included:

  • Surf Life Saver of the Year – Joshua Douglas of Kiama Downs SLSC. 
  • 8 – 10 Female Competitor – Emma Tridgett of Kiama Downs SLSC.
  • 15 -17 Female Cadet Competitor – Alicia Burazin of Kiama SLSC.
  • Masters Male Competitor – Steven Guy of Kiama Downs SLSC. 
  • Training officer of the Year – Brett Lark of Kiama SLSC.
  • Assessor of the Year – Trina Jensen of Kiama Downs SLSC.
  • Facilitator of the Year – Joshua Douglas of Kiama Downs SLSC.
  • Patrol Audit – Kiama Downs SLSC
  • Junior Age Manager of the Year – Scott Case of Kiama Downs SLSC.
  • Under 19 Surf Lifesaver of the Year – Jake Cleal-Cook of Kiama Downs SLSC.
  • Surf Lifesaver of the Year – Joshua Douglas of Kiama Downs SLSC.

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