Lifeguards' day in the surf

NO prizes for guessing how delegates kicked off the national lifeguard conference in Coffs Harbour yesterday. A surf contest, of course.

Almost 50 lifeguards from around Australia sampled beautiful conditions as they battled it out in the open mens, over 35s and over 45s divisions at Diggers Beach.

As many as 100 delegates from Noosa Heads in Queensland to the NSW South Coast are taking in the delights of the Coffs Coast during the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association annual three-day conference.

“All these career lifeguards have the mind of a 16-year-old - they want to get out there and catch waves,” association secretary/treasurer John Andrews said.

Coffs Harbour last hosted the conference in 2003, and it's the only NSW council to have done so twice in the past 13 years.

The gathering, Mr Andrews said, was a chance for Coffs Harbour to showcase its 'wonderful coast', and it highlighted the significance of our city as a regional centre.

The conference, which coincides with the end of the 2008/2009 surf season, helps professional lifeguards to compare and review best practice in rescue, emergency care and beach management.

“Our aim is to share information and walk away with best practice in the industry,” Mr Andrews said.

He confirmed the hit TV series, Bondi Rescue, now into its fourth season, 'has had a remarkable impact' on beachgoers and their awareness of beach safety.



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