Terry Lowe (left), Nick Hiller, Jason Ford, Vanessa Nugent, Cheryl Lowe, Brad Shiels and Jenni Sparks keeping watch.
Terry Lowe (left), Nick Hiller, Jason Ford, Vanessa Nugent, Cheryl Lowe, Brad Shiels and Jenni Sparks keeping watch.

Fitness and commitment

VANESSA Nugent has been into surf-lifsaving since the beginning.

Of women's acceptance into the surf patrols that is, which first happened in 1980.

"I remember I had to wait and wait," Vanessa said.

"It was very exciting when we finally took our first bronze medallions.

"I've been involved ever since."

That was in Sydney but Vanessa is like many for whom surflifesaving is part their lives ? they get involved no matter where they live.

Although having only arrived in the area three years ago, she now runs the Nippers (junior surf lifesavers) and is secretary of the club.

"I just love being on the beach, I love the surf, I love the scene.

"The only part I don't love is watching some of the horrific things people do out in the surf.

"That worries me, because I know I am going to have to go and help them."

Nick Hiller is another member of the Urunga surf lifesaving family. He loves it all.

As the club's captain of the inflatable rescue boats (IRB), Nick is one of the club's most highly skilled members.

"Scooping people up with the boats is quite tricky, which is why you see us out there practising as much as we can," Nick said.

He is not, however, sorry to see the end of the old beach reels with their ropes and lifebuoys.

"You need to be very strong to swim out towing one of those ? they were very heavy.

"They (the rings) also tended to pull people under as they were pulled back to shore.

"It took a lot of skill.

"The boards are much better."

Not that surf lifesaving these days doesn't take a lot of skill ? and commitment and fitness.

Nick trains most weekday mornings either on the water paddling a surf ski or in the gym.

"We have to do our bronze medallion exam every year, which requires fitness.

"We have to run 100 metres, swim 200 metres around cans in the surf and then run another 100 metresin eight minutes."

Nick arrived in Urunga in 1999.

What impresses him most about the club is how much a part of the entire community it is.

"It is a social club, a sports club and a community organisation, as well as a volunteer and training organisation.

"And everyone in the town is linked to it in some way.

"They have cousins or kids or neighbours who are involved or maybe they go to the fundraising functions.

"Most of the businesses in town give in some way, too ? mechanical help, or meat or drinks ? everyone pitches in."

As the season approaches its close, now it's fundraising time.

Vanessa said the club is targeting corporate sponsorship this year.

"The locals get hit up so often," she said.

"We are looking statewide this year. Bonds, Kelloggs, Nutrimetics ? some of those companies that are already sponsoring sports."



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