My Beach

The category winners of Surf Life Saving WA’s 2019 Awards of Excellence, held in June, will be heading to the Gold Coast to proudly represent WA at Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Awards of Excellence; where SLSA will recognise the hard work, selflessness and enthusiasm of surf life saving’s volunteers across Australia.

This year, the National Awards will be celebrated at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, 9 November.

You’ve met our finalists through their Q&A’s over recent weeks, you’ve heard their stories and why surf lifesaving means so much to them. However, just in case you wanted to catch up, here is a recap of those who will proudly represent their clubs and WA on 9 November.

Name: Mike Shaw
Club: Fremantle SLSC
Finalist For: DHL Volunteer of the Year & Trainer of the Year

SLSA Summary about Mike: 
Since 2008, Mike has been a valued and passionate member of Fremantle SLSC. His contributions to Surf Lifesaving at a club, state and national level are outstanding. Mike has been actively involved in patrols as current club Vice Captain, participated in education as Club Bronze Medallion Coordinator, commercial training, surf sports (Club Manager), community programs that include the delivery of beach safety programs for newly-arrived migrants and fundraising.

Mike is also the Chair and member of the State and National Education Advisory Committees respectively.  He demonstrates extraordinary commitment and professionalism and epitomises his club values of service, fun, development, teamwork, integrity and wellbeing.


Name: Russell Price
Club: Mandurah SLSC
Finalist For: DHL Lifesaver of the Year
Click here to read his Q&A

SLSA Summary about Russell: 
Russell is passionate about lifesaving and has been extremely active in his six years with the Club.  In 2018/19 he holds the position of Director of Lifesaving and is energetically involved in managing and coordinating Patrol, Community Service and Water Safety activities.

Highlights of Russell’s surf lifesaving participation include, the development of a Club Lifesaving Roster seeing benefits for members and community, and the development of water safety and event plans to ensure the safety of all participants. Russell has worked with Mandurah City to support the Club’s inclusivity focus and has been a Member of the Peel District Local Emergency Management Advisory Committee. Russell leads by enthusiastic example, is a quiet achiever and is described as the voice of reason in Mandurah SLSC.


Club: North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club
Finalist For: DHL Club of the Year

SLSA Summary about North Cottesloe: 
North Cottesloe SLSC has maintained a key theme of sustainability in its Centenary Year.  New initiatives have included NW Communities SLSS Program to deliver courses to regional areas, Surf Sister Club Partnership sharing all resources and training in Margaret River Region, Take3ForTheSea program improving the environment, and promoting awareness, development and performance across the Club.

Other improvement measures have dealt with Governance and Leadership, Development of Environment, Athlete/Competition and Education, as well as Life Saving Services and Community Engagement. In 2020 the Club is committed to aligning with the strategic intent of SLSA and SLSWA, including Healthy Clubs, Financial Security, Involving All Australians/Learning for Life, Active for Life and the future overall development of the Club. “Sustainability through Engagement” is the Club’s philosophy.


Name: Sandy Clarke
Club: Mullaloo SLSC
Finalist For: Official of the Year
Click here to read her Q&A

SLSA Summary about Sandy: 
Sandy has gone above and beyond in 2018/19 as an official at club, state and national level and is a dedicated and smiling presence, appreciated at every event she officiates.  Sandy is the official trainer, assessor and mentor at Mullaloo SLSC and refereed the annual club marathon and nipper carnival.

She also held major officiating roles across both water and beach events including State pool rescue, IRB racing, surf rowing and water and beach events e.g. Referee at the 2019 SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships; as well as national events such as being Chief Marshall for the Aussie Masters at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. Sandy is passionate about recruiting and retaining youth officials, introducing the WA Youth Officials Program for ages 13-15which attracted 34 participants from nine clubs. Many participants went on to officiate at three or more events.


Name: Matthew Bowbridge
Club: Trigg Island SLSC
Finalist For: Coach of the Year
Click here to read his Q&A

SLSA Summary about Matthew: 
Matthew has been a member of Trigg Island SLSC since 2000. He has worked energetically over the years and now holds the position of Senior Board/Iron Coach.  His coaching achievements are many and during the 2018/19 season he coached eight Trigg Island athletes into the WA Interstate Team; coached the Trigg Island U17 Male Board Relay to bronze at the Australian Championships, and coached Will Savage to Gold in the Open and U17 Ironman at the SunSmart WA Surf Life Saving Championships.

As a mentor Matt assists junior coaches on a weekly basis, is the ideal role model for all development coaches, and ensures that all work from the same plan and for the same goals. This has created success the Club has not seen before.


Name: Shannon O’Brien
Club: Port Bouvard SLSC

Finalist For: Youth Lifesaver of the Year
Click here to read her Q&A

SLSA Summary about Shannon: 
Since becoming a member in 2010 as a nipper, Shannon has achieved a vast number of awards from her Surf Rescue Certificate in 2011 and Bronze Medallion in 2013 through to Silver Medallion in 2018.  She is currently Treasurer and the youngest member to have been on the Executive Committee of the Port Bouvard SLSC where she took the initiative in setting up a new point of sale system for PBSLSC. 

Shannon is the youngest ever Patrol Captain who is diligent regarding preventative action and water safety and passionate about implementing youth engagement strategies.  She is professional, calm and collected in dealing with surf incidents and has proved an excellent communicator in relaying information to public and authorities, young and old alike.


Name: Jackson Symonds
Club: Sorrento SLSC
Finalist For: Open Athlete of the Year
Click here to read his Q&A

SLSA Summary about Jackson: 
Jackson achieved outstanding results in 2018/19 forming part of the winning Australian Lifesaving Team at the 2018 World Championships.  He made history when he won his fifth Open Beach Sprint title at the Australian Championships as well as undefeated in the beach sprint event at all other major competitions including Interstate Championships, Western Australia Championships, Ocean6 Wanda, WA Surf League, and Curl Curl 1000.

Jackson advocates good sportsmanship both within and outside of the competition arena and is sincere in his appreciation of his team of coaches, surf club, fellow competitors, officials and family who have supported his surf sport journey. Jackson values the opportunity to give back to the next generation of surf lifesavers through coaching and mentoring.


Name: Will Savage
Club: Trigg Island SLSC
Finalist For: Youth Athlete of the Year

SLSA Summary about Will: 
Will commenced in the Nipper ranks inspired by other champion athletes and is now a role model to many aspiring nippers at Trigg Island and across WA through his work with SLSWA Nipper Clinics.  He is always willing to promote lifesaving and has provided his services in videos involving partners and sponsors of SLSWA. In the 2019 Western Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, Will was the first person to win Gold in both Open and U17 Ironman and at the Australian SLS Championships won a swag of awards.

He was selected in the Western Suns Interstate State team as an Open competitor while only in his first years as U17. Will won the Matthew Barclay Memorial Trophy, and as the Barclay family were unable to present it, Will travelled to North Burleigh to thank them personally.


Name: John Summers
Club: Fremantle SLSC
Finalist For: Assessor of the Year
Click here to read his Q&A

SLSA Summary about John: 
John has been a member of Fremantle SLSC for 20 years, 15 of which he has held Board positions.  He has been the Club’s Lifesaving and Education Director, assessing SRC, Bronze, IRB and RWC candidates from both nearby and regional clubs as well as contributing to skills maintenance checks. Recognising the need to ensure members’ skills over time were maintained to the highest standards, led him to revitalise the Skills Maintenance check to ensure there was a review of radios, CPR and lifesaving scenarios each season.  

More recently he has become a facilitator in pain, management, assisting longer-serving members to remain active.  As a founding member of Wesfarmers Emergency Response Team, John has created strong links with Water Police and diving team, assisting searches and retrievals.


Name: Christ Church Grammar School & North Cottesloe SLSC
Club: North Cottesloe SLSC
Finalist For: Community Education Program of the Year 

SLSA Summary about North Cottesloe SLSC and
Christ Church Grammar School:  

This program elevates service learning as a priority by introducing students at Christ Church Grammar School to the Surf Life Saving movement and providing young men with a structured pathway to become active members of a local Surf Life Saving club.

The Christ Church Surf Life Saving Cadet Unit provides an opportunity for students to attain their Bronze Medallion or Surf Rescue Certificate, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to operate effectively in a team and as a first responder in an emergency. The program has produced real-life rescuers and supports local swimming-related programs requiring lifesaver support. The highly respected partnership between the school and North Cottesloe SLSC unites experience, community connection and youth.


Name: Matthew Wilson
Club: Secret Harbour SLSC

Finalist For: DHL Lifeguard of the Year

SLSA Summary about Matthew: 
Matthew has nine years of experience as a Lifeguard, providing maturity and diligence and enabling necessary changes for improvement while providing stability for junior lifeguards to replicate. He has a dedicated approach to conducting preventative actions and was instrumental in the notable increase of preventable actions in his area over the last year.

His approach to data collection and incident reporting is a testament to Matthew’s dedication to the business of lifesaving.   Matthew had grown his lifeguarding career by becoming part of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter team thus adding to the efficacy of coordinating beach services from the air or on the sand, and his past experience in Policing and now Primary Teaching is an important feature of his interactions with members and the community.



Check out the full list of finalists for the Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence here.