55 years in the waves for fam­ily

Meets a fam­ily at home in the Hawke’s Bay surf.

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

ME­GAN HUNT/FAIRFAX NZ

Cushla McLaren, Char­lotte McLaren, 6, Kate McLaren, 9, Anna McLaren, 9, and Al­lan Thomp­son are three gen­er­a­tions in­volved with Waimarama Surf Life Sav­ing.

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