The 2021 Surf Life Saving WA Awards of Excellence was held on 12 June, 2021.

See the photos from the evening here.

Check out our 2021 award winners below!

Age Group Manager of the Year

Awarded to: Hayden Marchetto (Trigg Island SLSC)

One of the U13 Age Group Managers at Trigg Island, Hayden was a driving force behind the inaugural U13 Nipper Development Camp at the club, which was designed to improve retention and help U13’s transition from nippers to youth.

One of Hayden’s strengths is his communication skills – he engages with everyone and encourages every Nipper in his care to challenge themselves and improve as lifesavers, club members and as individuals.

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Assessor of the Year

Awarded to: Jeff Medcalf (Albany SLSC)

For the past 21 years, Jeff has immersed himself in delivering the highest quality of education, training and assessing to surf lifesavers at Albany Surf Life Saving Club.

This season, Jeff led the Albany SLSC Education Team and was often involved in the assessment of the more than 400 new awards and skills maintenance for Surf Rescue Certificate, Bronze Medallion and Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Driver achieved.

He also coordinated a team of trainers and assessors to complete 48 assessment activities for Albany Surf Life Saving Club and two for Denmark.

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Bernie Kelly Medal

Awarded to: Will Savage (Trigg Island SLSC)

An exceptional athlete, Will’s performance at the 2021 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships saw him finish up the event with an astounding 19 medals – 14 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze.

His most noteworthy performances included gold medals in the Ironman, Surf Race, Belt Race, and Board Rescue events.

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Coach of the Year

Awarded to: Matthew Bowbridge (Trigg Island SLSC)

Over the past 11 years, Matt has strived for excellence in all aspects of coaching, with skill and perseverance that saw him named as Surf Life Saving WA’s Coach of the Year in 2019.

As Trigg Island’s board and ironman coach, he has been instrumental in the continued development and success of Trigg Islands athletes, with many of his athletes winning state titles, qualifying for finals at the Aussies and taking home national medals.

In addition, Matt mentors the Trigg Islands junior coaches and is the ideal role model for all development coaches.

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Community Program of the Year

Awarded to: Silver Salties Program (Binningup SLSC)

This year Binningup SLSC established the first registered “Silver Salties” group in WA, based at Binningup. This initiative was largely driven by club President Julie Doyle.

Silver Salties is a physical activity and social connections initiative for older Australians, designed by Surf Life Saving Australia.

This year, largely driven by club President Julie Doyle, Binningup established the first registered “Silver Salties” group in WA and has delivered and managed the program in line with Surf Life Saving Australia Silver Salties protocols.

Only two of the 53 current participants have ever been involved with a surf life saving club previously, with many participants looking to join the club next season.

Participants come from Harvey, Australind and Binningup to take part, and the program has become the talk of not just the local community but throughout the Shire of Harvey.

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Lavan Club of the Year

Awarded to: Trigg Island Surf Life Saving Club

The Trigg Island SLSC have undertaken a range of new initiatives, programs and events to achieve the club’s strategic goals. Initiatives included the introduction of a Silver Salties Program, beach awareness and safety course for migrants and a Women in Surf Brunch supporting the McGrath Foundation.

The club has a very well-developed youth program which encourages members to participate in the Youth Pathways Program developed by SLSWA. The Trigg Island SLSC are deserving winners of the 2021 Lavan Club of the Year.

2nd – Swanbourne Nedlands Surf Life Saving Club

3rd – Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club

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Lifesaver of the Year

Awarded to: Jay Morgan (Fremantle SLSC)

Last season Jay stepped up to fill the Club Captain role at Fremantle and has focused on forming strong relationships with as many members and local community groups as possible.

Jay has been a first responder to a number of critical incidents and sees the importance of member wellbeing; something he’s looking to focus on in the coming season.

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Official of the Year

Awarded to: Garry Bunford (Sorrento SLSC)

Garry has been a friendly face at all the major surf sports events across the 2020/21 season, with a dedicated approach to ensuring the fair running of each event.

He has taken on many different roles across the season, making a significant contribution to the success of a number of surf sports events, including the SunSmart WA Little Nipper, Nipper and Senior Surf Life Saving Championships, R&R, and March Past events.

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Open Athlete of the Year

Awarded to: Sophie Watts (City of Perth SLSC)

Sophie had a stellar year during the 2020/21 surf sports season, with an Open Beach Sprint gold medal at the Aussies, as well as two gold and one silver medal at the 2021 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships.

In addition, Sophie was selected as a member of the Western Sun’s Ocean/Beach Interstate Team in recognition of her outstanding performance on the sand.

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Patrol Club of the Year

Awarded to: Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club

Fremantle has had another strong and consistent season on the beach. They proactively revised how their patrol was designed to cater for environmental changes and visitation trends along their stretch of coastline.

They also implemented a Captains Patrol at the start of the season to help build strong relationships between patrol teams and develop capable frontline leaders.

Each year building on the last, this is the third time in six seasons that Fremantle has taken out Patrol Club of the Year honours.

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Support Operations Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Byron Bird (Albany SLSC)

Byron is a key member of the Wesfarmers Emergency Response Team based out of Albany Surf Life Saving Club.

Demonstrating a willingness to be involved in a number of key marine search and rescue responses this year, Byron works openly and collaboratively with others in the great southern region, within Surf Life Saving WA, and external agencies to get the best possible outcomes in often very challenging situations.

Special commendation was also given to Damian Newbold from Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club and the Wesfarmers Emergency Response Team based out of Esperance Surf Life Saving Club for their commitment to the Jet Ski Program.

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Surf Sports Team of the Year

Awarded to: Patrick Eley & Will Savage – Trigg Island U19 Male Board Rescue

The Trigg Island U19 Male Board Rescue dream-team of Will Savage and Patrick Eley pulled an impressive feat at the SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships, taking home gold in both the U19 and Open Male Board Rescue events.

The duo then went on to take silver at The Aussies in the U19 Open Male Board Rescue at the 2021 Aussies. Both athletes were also named in the Western Suns’ Ocean/Beach Interstate team.

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Trainer of the Year

Awarded to: Garry Williams (Secret Harbour SLSC)

Garry is a driven, passionate trainer with a desire to ensure his fellow club members and the broader surf community are skilled across a range of disciplines.

This season Garry was the lead trainer for over a dozen courses and assisted in training a number of others.

At a state level, Garry’s most significant impact has been around the training and assessment of Rescue Water Craft operators. He is passionate about improving capability in this area, which he has done through running personal development sessions for members and organising inter-agency training with Volunteer Marine Rescue.

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Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Luke Bishop (Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC)

Luke has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Surf Life Saving and in particular, his club Swanbourne Nedlands where he is currently the President.

Luke has been the driving force behind several growth areas at the club, including grant applications, compliance and building upgrades. Luke simply wants to be a good President who can provide stability and make the club a stronger place.

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Woodside Nippers Club of the Year

Awarded to: Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club

This season Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club had a particular focus on the development of their Age Group Managers with 51 members being signed off having completed the full Age Group Managers Course.

They also made use of other experts in the club to deliver First Aid and patrol familiarisation as part of their weekly Woodside Nippers Program.

As a retention tool, Sorrento encourages its Nipper members to give interclub surf sports a go, which resulted in tremendous success in both the SunSmart Little Nipper and Nipper Championships this season.

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Woodside Nippers Program Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Billy Ferreira (Mandurah SLSC)

Each Sunday, Billy’s day starts around 6am, when he starts preparing the trailer and equipment for the morning activities.

Once the Woodside Nippers Program starts, he takes charge of the U11 Age Group and mentors two new Age Group Managers in the process. Billy also managed to train over 20 parents in the Nipper Rescue Certificate over the past season.

His Woodside Nippers day ends some six hours later as he stays behind to ensure all equipment is cleaned up and ready to go again the following week.

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Woodside Nippers Program Coordinator of the Year

Awarded to: Kevin Duguid (Trigg Island SLSC)

Kevin displays strong leadership in his role as Woodside Nippers Program Coordinator at Trigg Island, working with the Junior Committee around how Program delivery can be improved, and how Nippers can be better engaged.

As a result of these discussions, a number of new initiatives happened throughout the season including the very popular Nipper Development Camp and the Women in Surf Event for Nippers.

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Young Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Dylan Higgins (Mandurah SLSC)

Dylan’s voluntary contribution has had a significant impact on both individual members and the entire Mandurah Surf Life Saving Club. He is a tireless volunteer who never hesitates to step up and help out.

He has completed more than 100 hours of beach patrol over the season and has assisted in providing water safety services for various events.

As a qualified coach, Dylan is also involved in surf sports coaching, offering swimming coaching to members, both young and old, at the local pool each week.

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Youth Athlete of the Year

Awarded to: Will Savage (Trigg Island SLSC)

Will has proved he is a force to be reckoned with, both at a state and national level. At this year’s SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships, he took home 19 medals, including 14 gold, across both U19 and Open age groups.

He was named the WA Ironman Series Open Champion, SunSmart WA Surf League Open Champion, and selected as a Western Suns Ocean/Beach Interstate Team member.

At a national level, Will claimed an impressive eighth-place finish in the inaugural Nutri-Grain Next Gen Ironman Series, and at the 2021 Aussies, qualified for seven finals in total, taking home silver in the U19 Board Rescue.

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Youth Lifesaver of the Year

Awarded to: Nicholas Graydon (Secret Harbour SLSC)

Nicholas is always eager to share his knowledge and take on new leadership roles. He has a view to become a trainer and Jet Ski Operator.

Nicholas is really excited about drone technology and how they can not only help on the beach but also build connections between the club and youth in the community.

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