Surf Life Saving NSW Administrator of the Year for 2020, Woolgoolga SLSC's John Eyles.
Surf Life Saving NSW Administrator of the Year for 2020, Woolgoolga SLSC's John Eyles.

Woopi driving force honoured with Award of Excellence

SURF Life Saving NSW’s finest were celebrated at the annual Awards of Excellence on Saturday and one Coffs Coast member came out on top of the pack.

Several nominees were vying for awards from across the Coffs Coast and Clarence Valley, but Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club’s John Eyles’ was the sole winner, taking out Administrator of the Year.

Surf Life Saving NSW Administrator of the Year for 2020, Woolgoolga SLSC's John Eyles.
Surf Life Saving NSW Administrator of the Year for 2020, Woolgoolga SLSC's John Eyles.

Announced during the virtual awards ceremony streamed on SLSNSW’s Facebook page on Saturday night, hosts read the details of Eyles’ nomination.

“Eyles’ actions as an administrator this year have not only benefited the club, but also the wider community. He is a man with a vision and a commitment to making things happen,” announcers said.

“Eyles is a long-serving member and a director of the club’s finances for the last 25 years. He is an active patrol captain and mentor for many in the club and his legacy will be everlasting because of his hard work and determination.”

We rolled out the red carpet to celebrate Johns success as SLSNSW Adminstrator of the Year 🎉 Well done and congratulations 🥳 #SLSNSWAwards #mysurflife

Posted by Woolgoolga Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday, 29 August 2020

Over 180 finalists, along with friends, family and the wider surf life saving community, took part in the virtual awards ceremony.

Central Coast Surf Life Saving Clubs and members cleaned up on the night, picking up six major awards including Branch of the Year.

Umina Beach SLSC also won three awards including Patrol of the Year and the prestigious Club of the Year award (for the second year in a row).

Surf Life Saving NSW President, George Shales OAM said the virtual Awards of Excellence were a resounding success and worked brilliantly to bring all 129 NSW surf clubs together, despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Last season was one of the toughest on record with bushfires along the NSW coast and the impact of coronavirus ending the summer patrol season early,” Shales said.

“Despite the challenges we faced, our volunteers rose to the occasion and they continue to do so in support of their communities.

“Each year our volunteer surf lifesavers put hundreds of thousands of hours into protecting the public on our beaches, but this year our members responded well beyond the beach and into the wider community.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the way our volunteers displayed courage, bravery and resilience in some of the harshest conditions. They are innovators, leaders, educators, athletes, watermen and women.

“They have proven themselves to be among the most skilled first responders on the NSW coastline and we are delighted to recognise the best in the field at our annual Awards of Excellence.”

Surf Life Saving NSW 2020 Award of Excellence Recipients


Official of the Year: Debbie Pawsey, Evans Head-Casino SLSC

Coach of the Year: Stephen Monaghan, Wauchope-Bonny Hills SLSC

Surf Sports Team of the Year: Bulli SLSC Open Men’s Boat Crew

Youth Athlete of the Year: Noah Steiner, Wanda SLSC

Masters Athlete of the Year: Paul Lemmon, Terrigal SLSC

Athlete of the Year: James Koch, Shelly Beach SLSC


Administrator of the Year: John Eyles, Woolgoolga SLSC

Services Team of the Year: Batemans Bay Bushfire Response Team, Batemans Bay SLSC

Youth Volunteer of the Year: Trae Hare-Boyd, North Steyne SLSC


Innovation Award: Australian Defence Force (ADF) Pilot Bronze Medallion Course, North Bondi SLSC

Community Education Program of the Year: The Gaza Surf Life Saving Project, North Steyne SLSC

Trainer of the Year: Doug Hawkins, Coogee SLSC

Assessor of the Year: Joe Mastrangelo, North Steyne SLSC

Facilitator of the Year: Gail Henderson, Redhead SLSC


Lifeguard of the Year: William Vaughan-Smith, Bega Valley Shire Council

Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year: Kai Darwin, Umina SLSC

Patrol Captain of the Year: David Winner, Coalcliff SLSC

Patrol of the Year: Patrol 5, Umina SLSC

Rescue of the Year: Bronte SLSC


President’s Medal: Anthony Turner, Thirroul SLSC, Illawarra

Branch of the Year: Central Coast

Club of the Year: Umina SLSC, Central Coast

Volunteer of the Year: Debbie Booth, Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest SLSC, Hunter

Surf Lifesaver of the Year: Tony Worton, Camden Haven SLSC, Mid North Coast

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