Sav­ing lives from sea­side

Trainer of the Year re­ceives the youngest nom­i­nee yet

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LOCAL LIFE - Carly Cullen [email protected]­news.com.au

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.

PHOTO: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

IN HER EL­E­MENT: Daneeka Kent is thrilled with her nom­i­na­tion.

PHOTO: JOHN MCCUTCHEON

YOUNG STAR: Daneeka Kent of Kawana Surf Club is the youngest Chief Train­ing Of­fi­cer at the club.

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