Champ loving life at new club
SALT Surf Club is the youngest on the coast, is relatively small in number and may not have won a medal at the NSW State Age Championships at Kingscliff last weekend but its members sure had fun.
The up-and-coming lifesavers of tomorrow are coached by a man full of experience, one that has competed at the cutting edge in years gone by, and one who has a vested interest in the club.
Former South Australian ironman Dwayne Thuys stays young by mixing it with the nippers at Salt - two of those are his daughters - and he's always prepared to pass on his knowledge of the ocean.
Dwayne's daughters, Kave and Evee, were among the fun-loving team at the championships where he was always nearby to offer advice and encouragement.
"The kids are becoming familiar with the ocean, feeling comfortable and turning out to be good lifesavers," Dwayne told The Northern Star.
"I'm lucky that my kids are involved ... they are getting a taste of it."
On his involvement as a mentor to the Salt members Dwayne offered: "some things are in your blood".
"It's not hard to do. You always get good positive energy out of the kids," he said.
Thuys has won 11 Australian gold medals including two national ironman titles, in 1985 and 1986, and was crowned world ironman champion in 1993.
"I joined (surf lifesaving) in the '60s, not that I can remember them," he said.
Salt was formed in 2004 after the developers recognised the beach could be dangerous.
Not only were lifeguards essential but the establishment of a surf club was paramount to the development going ahead.
"The developer knew the importance of forming a surf club and it took about two years to put it through Surf Lifesaving NSW, but it was finally accepted," Dwayne said.
"Since then it has grown to about 100 patrolling members, about the same in nippers."