Honoured for following passion
A lifetime of love has gone into Coolum’s beachfront
AS A young boy, Paul Norman and his brother would hitch a ride up to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane to spend their weekends surfing at Coolum.
Now 44 years on, the veteran patroller was honoured with a dual life membership to both the lifesaving club, and the supporters club upstairs.
However, where he’s most at home is in the water or on the golf course.
“Over the years I’ve paddled competitively and patrolled the beaches, but my passion is still surfing,” Mr Norman said.
“I love the whole ethos of the club, the motto, no lives lost between the flags. I just love the water.”
One of the long-standing blokes on the beach, Mr Norman said there was still a group of people who came down to the beach every week to help.
“It’s never been hard work,” he said.
“Everything I’ve done has all been preventative, and when the sun got up we would go surfing.”
He recalled a time, many moons ago, where he helped to drag an unconscious man into shore, who was then resuscitated by his patrol-mates.
“It’s really just nice to give something back,” he said.
“It’s a tricky stretch of beach.”
The Coolum Beach Surf Lifesaving Club is now in its 99th year, and preparing for 365 days of celebration next year.
While Mr Norman has been involved with the club for almost half of its life, he noticed that while some things had changed, many have stayed the same.
“You just grow with the club,” he said.
“It’s always local based, the heart of the community, and you get out what you put into it.”
Surf lifesaving is slowly becoming a legacy in the Norman family. The two brothers were quick to get their Bronze Medallions as soon as they were able, and since, Mr Norman has had a string of relatives get in on the club action.
“We’ve had two or three generations,” he said.
“It’s that iconic Australian lifestyle.”
He reflected how the club had grown with the community, and said when he first moved to Coolum it was still a “sleepy little coastal town”.
“No one lived here, and it’s still a pretty close-knit town if you look at it.”
Mr Norman loved the Coolum area for its small-town feel, where he could walk down the street and everyone would wave or say hello.
He believed the growing beachside town still held a lot of the original soul, especially when it came to his work with the surf club.
“Everyone appreciates what we do,” he said.
“It’s what keeps me coming back after all these years. It’s just a way of life.”
In his 44 years, Mr Norman has contributed manpower on the beach, brought home wins for the club, and assisted in running the upstairs.
He joined the supporters club in 2005, and at a recent AGM he was honoured with a life membership for his tireless efforts.
The humble lifesaver is the second club member ever to hold dual life memberships, and he still actively patrols.
LIFE MEMBER: Paul Norman has been honoured with dual life membership at the Coolum Surf Club.