When Charlie Rigby’s family came to Australia from England eight years ago, he didn’t get a say as to whether he wanted to join surf life saving or not.
Eight years on, Charlie is the SLSWA Youth Athlete of the Year, 2017 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Champs dual gold medallist, and a national gold and bronze medallist thanks to his recent performance at the 2017 Aussies. He’s also hot on the heels of Open Athlete of the Year and fellow teammate and “beachie” Jackson Symonds.
We spoke to Charlie to dig a little deeper into who he is and how surf lifesaving has become a big part of his life here in Australia.
Q. How would your friends describe you?
A. Funny and chilled.
Q. When and why did you join surf lifesaving?
A. I started about eight years ago, as my family had just moved to Australia from England and wanted me to do surf lifesaving. I didn’t get much of a say in joining, but luckily I liked it and continued to do it.
Q. How did you get involved as a beach athlete?
A. Doing points days as a nipper I started to move more towards the beach events as I enjoyed them more, and I was better at running than I was at swimming!
Q. Tell us about your club, Sorrento SLSC
A. Having only been with Sorrento for a few years, the amount of help and support they have given me is amazing. As soon as I started with Sorrento they welcomed me and supported me. The level of training and performance with the beach squad is at a national level, which has helped me improve massively, and helps me perform at a high level.
Q. What is your favourite beach, outside of Sorrento?
A. That would have to be Quinns Beach as that is the beach where I started surf lifesaving and also because I am still a social member there.
Q. How has surf lifesaving helped you in other aspects of your life, i.e. school, part time work, mental toughness etc.?
A. Surf lifesaving has helped me develop more confidence as the sport takes you out of your comfort zone, whether it is tough competitions or going across the country with the state team, this helped me become more enthusiastic about leaving my comfort zone and doing different things.
Q. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
A. Flying so I could go and see the world without going bankrupt in the process.
Q. What are your favourite things to do on your weekends/outside of SLSWA?
A. Hang out with mates and go surfing.
Q. What is your favourite joke?
A. What did the pig say at the beach on a hot summers day?
Q. What is the funniest memory you have from your time with surf lifesaving?
A. That’s got to be going to the country carnivals back in juniors and just having fun and bantering with teammates for the weekend.
Q. What values has surf lifesaving taught you?
A. Persistence, determination, gratitude, to be humble when you win or lose, and to appreciate the support you get.
Q. What is one piece of advice you have for younger members of surf lifesaving?
A. Take every chance that you get given as it opens up more opportunities that you will learn from. which develops you as an athlete and a person.
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