The 2022 Surf Life Saving WA Awards of Excellence was held on Saturday, 25 June 2022.

See the photos from the night here.

Check out our 2022 winners!

Age Group Manager of the Year

Awarded to: Louis Cheeseman (Mullaloo SLSC)

Louis takes on the important role of looking after Mullaloo’s U14 & U15 cohort, providing structure and activities each Sunday morning. He has drawn upon his teaching background to create an environment that both challenges and engages the youth members in the areas of Lifesaving, Training, Leadership and Surf Sports.

His activities are not only confined to Sunday mornings as Louis offers youth members board training on Monday and Wednesday evenings. He is a dedicated Age Group Manager who deserves the title of Age Group Manager of the Year.

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Assessor of the Year

Awarded to: Mike Shaw (Fremantle SLSC)

Mike has been an active assessor for the past seven years and this year, has been Fremantle’s most active Bronze Medallion and Advanced Resuscitation assessor.

Passionate about ‘continuous improvement’ to deliver the best quality training and assessment possible at his club, in the past year Mike implemented an Education Managers forum with other local clubs to discuss improvements to the assessment of courses.

This included a focus to increase communication regarding assessment activities and the ability of assessors to nominate their attendance at any given SRC, Bronze Medallion or Powercraft assessment.

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Bernie Kelly Medal

Awarded to: Will Savage (Trigg Island SLSC)

Backing his 2021 win, Will’s performance at the 2022 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships saw him finish up the event with an astounding 14 medals – 12 gold and 2 bronze.

His most noteworthy performances included gold medals across both the U19 and open divisions for the Ironman, Surf Race, Board Race and Taplin Relay.

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Coach of the Year

Awarded to: Leigh Buchan (City of Perth SLSC)

Leigh is one of the States few Performance level Beach Coaches, having attained his coach accreditation over 30 years ago. The City of Perth Beach Program is amongst the best in the nation, with City of Perth SLSC athletes regularly, including this year, claiming medals at SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships and the Aussies.

In addition, Leigh provides coach education and mentoring to his Club coaches and Nipper Age Managers to continually grow the discipline.

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Community Education Program of the Year

Awarded to: Mandurah SLSC Starfish Nippers

In 2017/18, the Club attended an inclusion presentation from the City of Mandurah which highlighted how difficult it was for people with disabilities to access and enjoy the beach. This presentation included information about the Starfish Nippers Progam.

Identifying that this program would be an added benefit to their club as it aligned with their strategic focus of inclusion, the program was adopted.

Since then, it has developed and grown considerably and the club has modified and adapted the sessions to be conducted in line with WA’s Woodside Nippers program.

The success of the Club’s Starfish Nippers now means there is a waiting list, while feedback and evidence demonstrates the program has exceeded all of its original aims.

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Lavan Club of the Year

Awarded to: Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club

Sorrento SLSC have had a focus on participation, healthy living, positive wellbeing and inclusion throughout the season. The Club challenges members to volunteer and get involved rather than watch from a distance. Their new Board Renewal Program has helped identify and introduce new members, with the appropriate and desired skill set, to take on Club Officer roles.

Another big focus for Sorrento has been to grow their youth area and keep these members active and involved, they have identified this as an area of great potential. One of the successful strategies they have implemented is using experienced members as mentors for their youth, giving the youth role models to look up to and connect with.

2nd – Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club

3rd – City of Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club

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Official of the Year

Awarded to: Ray Maffescioni (North Cottesloe SLSC)

Ray has been an official at State, National and International level since 2012. This season, he officiated on the beach at every Nipper, Senior and Beach Series Carnival; the Nippers, Seniors, Masters, and WA Country Championships; and he also officiated at all three formats of the Australian Championships.

Ray attained his Senior Officials award and provides support to clubs and events ensuring an even and fair beach course is available to all athletes.

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Open Athlete of the Year

Awarded to: Gabrielle Murphy (City of Perth SLSC)

Gabby is recognised for her achievements in the beach events. Taking home a gold, two silver and a bronze at the 2022 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships, Gabby narrowly missed out on medalling at the Aussies, finishing 4th and 5th in the open female beach flags and beach sprint finals respectively.

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Patrol Club of the Year

Awarded to: Fremantle SLSC

Having a well-organised patrol structure to provide support to patrol captains and members has enabled Fremantle to meet all its patrol requirements and expand its roving patrol to meet the increasing number of beach users swimming further away from flagged areas.

This has also allowed for the development of initiatives such as a first aid electronic translation tool for when a casualty does not speak English, and incident scenario packages to develop members’ skills.

Fremantle has developed strong ties with groups such as St John Ambulance, Water Police and Department of Fisheries to develop inter-service cooperation and increase effectiveness when dealing with an incident, and active with local community groups looking at a range of issues that affect beach users, helping educate the wider community about water safety, and promoting Surf Life Saving.

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Support Operations Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Damien Newbold (Sorrento SLSC)

Participating in numerous Emergency Response activations, including numerous search and recovery missions, Damien has been instrumental in the growth and sustainability of the Rescue Water Craft program at Sorrento with the Club achieving the greatest number of hours on their RWC this season.

Damien has also been instrumental in driving collaboration with neighbouring clubs and stakeholders, such as Marine Rescue, to further develop the capability of RWC operators at his Club for patrols, as well as Abalone Patrol.

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Surf Lifesaver of the Year

Awarded to: Shaun Nicholls (Alkimos SLSC)

Shaun is a dedicated club member and is often found on the beach in a variety of roles including Patrol Captain, Age Group Manager, and Trainer, as well as setting up for nippers most Sundays.

In addition to fulfilling all the normal duties, Shaun has been focusing on developing the club’s youth members, mentoring them and helping with training for higher awards such as ART, IRB crew and driver.

He has developed strong relationships with several local schools running beach awareness days and overseeing an SRC course where several of the students have now joined the Club.

As President, Shaun is also looking to increase the patrol capabilities of the Club to increase its membership and operational hours in the lifesaving space.

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Surf Sports Team of the Year

Awarded to: Courtney Aylett, Elizabeth Daubney, Jacqueline Nock, Rachel Withoos and Jeffery Hegarty – North Cottesloe Critical Business Open Female Surf Boat

The Critical Business team claimed gold in the Short Course Open Female, and Silver in the Open Female Surf Boats at this year’s SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships.

The team then went through three rounds, a quarter-final and two semi-finals before claiming silver in the Open Female Surf Boat Final at the 2022 Aussies.

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Trainer of the Year

Awarded to: Sandy Clarke (Mullaloo SLSC)

Sandy’s high-quality training draws on her 20 years of experience in Surf Life Saving.

She is able to contextualise training for her participants and, on the completion of their training, provide guidance on the pathways available to them.

Sandy provides ongoing support and mentoring for the Education Manager and her Club’s education portfolio, and this year, has provided training to over 120 Mullaloo members in awards including Bronze Medallion, Surf Rescue Certificate, Nipper Rescue Certificate, Pain Management and Advanced Resuscitation Techniques.

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Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Richard Lissett (Quinns Mindarie SLSC)

Richard is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of Quinns Mindarie Surf Life Saving Club ensuring the delivery of the club’s core services to both members and the community. He is the club’s Director of Lifesaving as well as being the Club Captain and U12 Age Manager. Richard accrued more than 100 hours on patrol over the season as well as many hours spent training members and coaching Nippers.

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Woodside Nippers Club of the Year

Awarded to: Mullaloo SLSC

Mullaloo has strived hard to create a one-club ethos with a particular focus to increase parent involvement so that they felt part of the Woodside Nippers Program.

Each age group had a variety of volunteer roles associated with it, and training was offered to the parents to ensure they could successfully take on the roles and add value to their child’s experience at the club.

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Woodside Nippers Program Coordinator of the Year

Awarded to: Megan Downes (Albany SLSC)

Megan spends hours meticulously planning each week to ensure the success of the Woodside Nippers Program. She developed a comprehensive season calendar that focused on skill development, confidence building and connection. Part of this calendar included visits to other beaches to expose the Albany Nippers to different, more challenging conditions.

Megan also coordinated the inaugural Great Southern Regional Nipper Championships which were held at Middleton Beach.

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Woodside Nippers Program Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: Mark Woodland (City of Bunbury SLSC)

Mark’s Sunday morning starts at 8am as he sets up the beach and water arenas for the Woodside Nippers Program. From 9:30 he oversees water safety, a role he also undertakes at five training sessions during the week.

Mark played a crucial role for the club at both the South-West Regional Nipper Championships and the SunSmart Country Carnival. When not providing water safety Mark helps coach Nippers and prepares them for Surf Sports competitions.

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Young Volunteer of the Year

Awarded to: James Currey (Fremantle SLSC)

James is an extremely active member of his club holding the important position of Patrol Officer, as well as sitting on the club’s Lifesaving and Education Committee; holding the position of Surf Sports Secretary, and is an U10 Age Manager.

James has completed his Training Officers Certificate and has begun assisting with instructing at SRC and Bronze Medallion courses.

He is an outstanding role model for Nipper and Youth members and a very worthy winner of the Young Volunteer of the Year.

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Youth Athlete of the Year

Awarded to: Will Savage (Trigg Island SLSC)

This season marks Will’s final in the U19 age division as he heads to open competition. Having taken out the 2021 Youth Athlete of the Year, Will continued his dominance winning all individual and three team water events and taking bronze in the remaining two team events at the 2022 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships.

Will also placed in the top 10 in both the U19 Ironman and U19 Surf Race at the 2022 Aussies, as well as bringing home the U19 National Title in the Board Relay.

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Youth Surf Lifesaver of the Year

Awarded to: Jake Silipo (Fremantle SLSC)

As well as being a patrol captain, Jake has stepped up to be a member of Fremantle’s Lifesaving and Education committee this season.

Passionate about engaging the youth membership, he gained his IRB trainers ticket to help grow participation in IRBs from their youth members.

As well as his normal patrols, Jake has also been involved in providing water safety during Abalone patrols and SLSWA events.


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