Brighton surf club riding wave of enthusiasm
With more than 20 new families and plans to send a team of 40 competitors to the national championships next year, Brighton Surf Life Saving Club is looking up.
Club president Rebecca Aburn said there was a renewed sense of competition within the club.
Due to the cost, in previous years the club had sent only a few competitors to the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships, but it planned to send a bigger team next year, she said.
“It’s been a great building phase that we are in. We have got some really amazing coaches who have done so much for their community.”
The national championships would be the first time the club had entered a masters canoe team, which had a combined age of more than 200, she said.
Brighton club members made nine finals and won three silver medals at the previous championships.
“Certainly, as a wee club, we have a great group of competitors.”
This year the club had more than 60 families, a 30% increase on last year, Aburn said.
Brighton club member Dave McPhee credited schools’ beach education programme and the “quality of leadership in the club” for the increase in numbers.
“Parents have seen the facilities we have got here. The beach ed has been a big factor.”
McPhee, who has been involved in the club for more than 50 years, said the biggest increase was in children aged 12-14.
He said the teenage years were the most formative.
“This is where we look after the kids. Teaching them water skills [is] so important for life skills.”
The New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships will be held in Christchurch on March 16-19.
The club will be on patrol from noon to 5pm every Saturday and Sunday until mid-March.