Ballina lifeguard on the crest of a wave
By DAWN COHEN
SAVING a few lives, scoring the world's best job, helping his daughter into the world, and winning an Australian Life Guard of the Year award. It has been a pretty good year for Ballina resident, Peter Baird. The 33-year-old won the 2005 Water Safety Award at an awards ceremony held at Coogee Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney on Wednesday night. "I knew I had been nominat- ed for professional life guard of the year, but I was a bit sur- prised when they called my name," he said. The father-of-three was a nip- per at six, and a casual life guard for 15 years. He began his first full-time job as a life guard when he was appointed life guard supervisor for the Far North Coast this year. The former panelbeater won the award for his contribution to establishing safety and rescue services in the region, as well as for his personal contribution in saving lives. He is just as proud of assist- ing at his daughter Georgia's birth four months ago. "The midwife was busy, and I could see she was crowning," he said. "So Brooke (his wife) and I worked together to bring her out." What does he do to relax after a full week of patrolling the beaches? Volunteer surf life saving, of course. "I just love stepping on to the sand," he said. "I love the mateship."