Rachel Clark, Waterslide Operator, at the Ballina Memorial Olympic Pool & Waterslide. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / The Northern Star
Rachel Clark, Waterslide Operator, at the Ballina Memorial Olympic Pool & Waterslide. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Rachel loves her job

WORKING as a waterslide operator in Ballina is no downwards slide.

Rachel Clark, who is now into her ninth season on the job, says there's nowhere she would rather work during the hot summer months.

"I love it. It's something new every day," she said.

"I was involved with the surf lifesaving club, I had my bronze medallion, and started working here, and now I've got all my qualifications and I'm a senior lifeguard."

During the summer school holidays, the slide slips into full swing as kids queue half-way down the 17m high stairs.

"It's always busy during the holidays," Ms Clark said. "You have so many different tourists coming in.

"Thursday, Friday, Saturday it was amazing. It was the busiest I've ever seen it.

"The yellow slide was nearly at the green slide."

But standing in the heat, monitoring the slide can have its downside.

"You get pretty jealous you're not in the pool or going down the waterslides," Ms Clark said.

"It's hard that you've got to watch the pool, and it is hot, but at the same time we're pretty lucky to be working in such a great place."

From its opening time at 10am, three waterslide operators - all qualified lifeguards - are on duty, with one at the entrance to the green waterslide, one at the yellow waterslide and one at the bottom.

Their job is to ensure watersliders go down one at a time, in a safe position, with enough time between take-offs.

If kids are caught going down the wrong way, in doubles, or head-first, the waterslide operator on duty at the bottom will be waiting to give them a warning.

"Usually you have one warning and that's it," Ms Clark said. "If you get caught you'll get sent out for a certain period of time, then when you get back in that's your last chance and if you get caught doing anything it's game over."

But after a hard day's work, it's time to cool off.



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