Summer for my daughter, was the time for surf life saving. Every Sunday morning we’d go to the club at our local beach regardless of weather conditions.There was ocean swimming, board races, beach sprinting, surf rescue, relays races and fitness, safety and first aid training.
The first few weeks were normally chilly, the Indian Ocean had not yet had time to warm up after winter and the occasional cold front would still sweep in with grey stormy skies, big waves and swell blowing onshore. The really younger ‘nippers’ wouldn’t venture into the surf unless a barrage of parents were on hand to help out and encourage, even the adults weren’t too keen to brave the elements.
Then the summer would start. Uninterrupted blue skies, blue seas and white sand that by mid morning was too hot to stand on.
As the years progressed some of the older children took on roles of leadership and mentorship of the younger ones. They became the ones that coached the younger ‘nippers’. There were also competitions and rivalry, but more importantly cooperation and team building.
As I now look back on those long summers and look at the my daughter, I’m grateful for the opportunities surf life saving was and still is able to offer.
Waiting for the person doing the ‘swim leg’ of the rescue to reach the buoy before she can paddled out to ‘rescue’ them.
When I was trekking in Ethiopia a few years ago we passed a coptic church in the middle of the countryside on top of the plateau. The priest was walking along the track and stopped to greet us. He was happy for me to take a photo; something I don’t often do as I’m always a little embarrassed to ask. I was so taken by the calm and peace of this man that it was only later when I looked at the photo, that I really saw the beauty of his age etched face and rheumy eyes. I wondered what those eyes had witnessed in his lifetime.