‘Hooked’ on life-saving


Richard Murray has spent most of his life at the beach. Lifeguards at St Clair and Brighton will hit the beaches on Saturday for the opening of the 2016-17 season. Other surf clubs around Dunedin will follow. Star reporter Jessica Wilson chats with St Clair Surf Life Saving Club life member Richard Murray.
The St Clair Surf Life Saving Club life member joined in 1980 when he was 13 and has not looked back since. After 37 years at the club he has done just about everything. ‘‘Except chairman. I might leave that for the younger guys.’’ He has been club captain, president, junior coordinator, patrol captain, served on the junior and senior committees and also coached. He got involved in the club when life member Opie Mason saw him swimming at Moana Pool and suggested he join. ‘‘From then I was hooked.’’ Mr Murray was made a life member of the club earlier this year, an achievement he was not expecting. ‘‘It’s an honour. You don’t go into a volunteer role looking for awards like that.’’ He said a highlight from his time at the club dated back to 1985. ‘‘Definitely winning a silver medal in the canoe race. It was a long time ago.’’ He has been involved in a lot of coaching over the years and enjoyed watching junior members succeed. ‘‘We had 40-odd junior members at one stage and within a couple of years I had got it up to 100. The club got very strong.’’ ‘‘I am a proud and loyal supporter of St Clair . . . watching some of the ones that have gone through the ranks and are winning nationals and actually representing New Zealand.’’ Murray said the skills he learnt from surf life-saving had also proved handy away from the beach — twice in his experience. ‘When you learn your skills here they go elsewhere as well.’’ His skills are a lifeguard have been needed when he was away from the club. ‘‘When you become a lifeguard you tend to look at people when they are swimming . . .and you notice [problems].’’ ‘‘ . .. you can almost see it happen before it does.’’ – St Clair and Brighton surf life-saving clubs will open for the season on Saturday. Patrols will start atSt Kilda on November 5 and Warrington on November 12.