55 years in the waves for family
Meets a family at home in the Hawke’s Bay surf.
Water is never far from the minds of one Hawke’s Bay family, with three generations of active members at the Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club.
Allan Thompson qualified as a life guard in 1962 when rescues were performed with a reel and line, 55 years later he is still involved.
‘‘It’s been a life time commitment really,’’ he said.
His daughter Cushla McLaren followed and now her three daughters are also members.
Charlotte, 6, has recently started and enjoyed playing games at training sessions, while older twin sisters Kate and Anna, 9, have been with the club for three seasons.
Cushla began as an eight-yearold when Allan was coaching the junior surf team, but left when study and work commitments took over.
She’s back on the beach now and completing a refresher course to help support her children’s junior team.
‘‘It’s infectious, you never lose it,’’ she said.
Part of the attraction for them was the social aspects of the sport and being able to take part as a family, Cushla said.
Each Sunday over the summer they headed to the beach with many other families for the weekly training day.
Membership for a season was affordable, with equipment supplied.
It also taught her daughters practical life skills to keep them safe in the water, such as identifying where to swim and how to notice changes in conditions.
They encouraged people to support the club on January 29 by heading along to the annual Waimarama Beach Day.
It is Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club major fundraiser and one of the largest summer events in Hawke’s Bay with around 11,000 visitors.
Starting at 10am the day includes a beach dig, sandcastle competition, dash for cash, rescue demonstration, plus the Mr and Miss Waimarama competition.
A new kids zone with bouncy castles, rides and face painting has been added.
Earlier this month the club hosted two days of competitions. On January 14 about 330 athletes competed at the Central Region Championships at Waimarama Beach.
Another 156 athletes took part in the New Zealand Representative Challenge the following day.
Neighbouring Ocean Beach Kiwi took out the top spot at the Central Region event, finishing on 67 points ahead of Lyall Bay on 64 and East End on 62.
Cushla McLaren, Charlotte McLaren, 6, Kate McLaren, 9, Anna McLaren, 9, and Allan Thompson are three generations involved with Waimarama Surf Life Saving.