Monday, July 21, 2014

Coochie club makes waves on Moreton Bay

Coochie nippers line up beside glorious Moreton Bay. Image courtesy
THE long-standing Queensland obsession with the surf probably made a few eyebrows rise at a recent public notice for one of the most important bayside and island community groups.
The lack of surf on Moreton Bay has been no hindrance to the evolution of a very active surf life saving club.
Coochiemudlo Surf Life Saving Club in fact has been 'club of the year' in the movement's south coast district.
The benefit of the 'stillwater' has helped the Coochie club develop swimming skills better than  many clubs on surf beaches, president Lance Price says.
“The surf beaches tend to get so rough that the swimmers can't get out in it,” he says. “We don't have that problem, so our members, especially the young ones, have a very good training environment.”

LANCE says the club, which had only about 10 members when it affiliated with the national surf live saving movement in 1996, is going from strength to strength and now has about 265 members.
“We have a very large contingent of nippers,” he says. “On any Sunday during the season we have close to 200 of them on the beach.
“Most of those come from the Redlands' mainland suburbs; only 10 to 15 of our nippers actually live on the island.”
The bay location means members don't have the task of rescuing swimmers from rips but Lance says emergencies do occur and the club's first-aid services are busy.
He says the club has about 50 patrolling members, with the ranks continually fed by teenagers qualifying for their surf rescue certificates.

“THE club is very strong in the national first-aid competitions,” he says. “Six members went to Perth last season for the nationals competing in the under-16, under-17 and open divisions.
“The best we got was a fourth but that's a national ranking and we think that's pretty good.”
Lance, who has been a club member for about eight years and captain for the past five, was elected as president at the annual general meeting last Saturday.
He said about 30 members attended and there was some lively discussion as the club was keen to “keep up with the times and keep moving ahead”.
A recent appointment to Surf Life Saving Queensland led the former president Des Kerr to stand down, Lance says.
The club invites new members, saying: “Apart from the benefits of health, fitness, friendship, competition, knowledge, leadership and being able to put something back into the community, there are always lifesaving awards to be gained, with the majority of these awards now nationally recognised.”

This column appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor, the Redland City Bulletin.

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