Saving lives from seaside
Trainer of the Year receives the youngest nominee yet
DANEEKA Kent is the youngest nominee for Trainer of the Year. At just 22, her name was suggested as a candidate by the Kawana Surf Club, which she has been patrolling as a lifesaver since she was 13. Next year she will celebrate a decade of lifesaving, but for now she is motivated to share her knowledge with others and turn everyday people into beach rescuers.
TURNING passion into lifestyle, Daneeka Kent is getting recognised for all her hard work as a surf lifesaver and chief training officer.
Due to all her efforts Daneeka is the youngest training officer to be nominated for Trainer of the Year, and with her lifelong passion for the beach it’s no wonder she was put forward.
As a Kawana resident, her enthusiasm for the sea developed at a young age.
“I’ve always been a beach girl, I love the ocean,” she said.
“I started nippers when I was five and worked my way up to under-12s, but I stopped because it gets competitive. Learning about the ocean meant more than the competition.”
During nippers, Daneeka’s dad was alongside her as swim coach and mentor.
“I learnt a lot through him. He would hold little surf sessions where we would come up and sit at the tower and talk about things like rips and currents,” Daneeka said.
Both daughter and dad pulled back around the same time. After having two years off, Daneeka jumped back on the scene to do her Surf Rescue Certificate and Bronze Medallion, which meant she was patrolling the beach at the age of 13.
Her enjoyment and pursuit of surf lifesaving was a catalyst for her dad to return by her side at the shore.
“By this time, I was the one who trained him. He patrols now and works under me. I’m his boss,” she said.
Having her parent’s trust goes to show how reliable and competent Daneeka’s skills are.
“It was a shock because I don’t do this for the awards, I do it for the role and for just being involved. It’s not just me, I have a whole team behind me, so I want them to have recognition as well.”
Juggling her position as training officer with full-time study at the University of the Sunshine Coast and working a casual job keeps Daneeka on her toes.
“The fact it’s a volunteer role really makes it. If it was a paid job it would be a different dynamic. Being a volunteer makes me feel more passionate about it.”
The work doesn’t stop with the award nomination.
Daneeka will be running the Bronze Medallion program, turning everyday beach goers into lifesaving heroes. The induction begins on August 7 and runs for eight weeks.
“It’s quite an achievement for people. A lot of people do it for their kids. They want to show their kids they can be in the water and they can do it,” she said.
The course can be a gruelling process, but participants overcome those fears in the program.
“It’s rewarding to help someone go from not wanting to go into the water to being able to rescue someone.”
Last weekend the winner for Trainer of the Year was announced and although Daneeka fell short of the title, she said “I’m passionate about surf lifesaving and helping people, I feel very honoured to have just been nominated”.
Daneeka hopes to continue inspiring others with her passion of the ocean by sharing her knowledge and skills with anyone wanting to learn.
IN HER ELEMENT: Daneeka Kent is thrilled with her nomination.
YOUNG STAR: Daneeka Kent of Kawana Surf Club is the youngest Chief Training Officer at the club.