SLSA National Awards of Excellence DHL Winners Announced

Country’s best recognised in Surf Life Saving Australia National Awards of Excellence

On Saturday evening SLSA awarded the top surf lifesavers in Australia for their dedication and commitment in Surf Life Saving Australia’s night of nights, the National Awards of Excellence.

The 2021 Awards of Excellence was live streamed into surf clubs around the country to celebrate and present 13 awards across the lifesaving, sport and education categories to Australia’s top surf lifesavers for their outstanding service to their communities.

Surf Life Saving Australia President John Baker ESM said “It has been a delight to watch so many of our member recognised for their dedication and service to our movement tonight. Of course, all of our 181,603 members around the country are a constant inspiration but the Awards of Excellence gives our movement a chance to recognise those members who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to their communities, and dedication to ensuring we keep our coastlines safe.”

“We know the contribution our surf lifesaving community makes to Australia is significant and tonight was our opportunity to recognise this significant work.

“Our members’ contributions extend beyond the beach, and in another year that has presented many challenges through COVID-19 it has been inspiring to see our members remain dedicated in the pursuit of safety in their communities. Our clubs have gone above and beyond to help their local areas and keep people safe.

“On behalf of Surf Life Saving I would like to congratulate all our Award winners as well as the finalists from across the country. Thank you for your dedication,”

John Baker ESM, Surf Life Saving Australia President.

2021 DHL Awards Winners List

DHL Surf Lifesaver of the Year:

Matthew Burrage

Matt is an active, enthusiastic and motivated member of Goolwa. He holds many awards, and this season achieved a total of 350 patrol hours. As well as an active Goolwa member, Matt undertook various roles at State level, focusing on life saving operations, service delivery and continuous improvement.

Matt has been instrumental in keeping surf lifesaving at the forefront of emergency service operations in South Australia, ensuring that SLSSA members are utilised by State Water Police in their response activities. In addition, Matt has delivered training for emergency operations and youth development programs, Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue courses and emergency operations group members to assist police with search and rescue.

Matt is a mentor to our youth and junior members, being a strong positive role model. He fostered strong relationships with other neighbouring Clubs and members to initiate a regional focus to lifesaving services. As a result of his work, this year saw the recruitment process commence for the formation of a ‘Southern Response Group’, providing a collective of trained members that will assist with large Search and Rescue incidents in the South at short notice.

Matt leaves a significant impression. He recognises bravery, encourages on-going commitment within his youth groups, and always ensures the welfare of his group as a priority.

DHL Volunteer of the Year:

Tea-Rose Passon

Tea has displayed outstanding professional commitment to her Club recording over 300 patrol and water safety hours during the past season. Tea holds numerous roles within her Club including Vice President, Patrol Director, Communications Manager, Youth Development Officer amongst others. Tea also finds time to be actively involved at both Anglesea and South Melbourne.

Tea’s strategic thinking to engage and develop youth members and pursuing opportunities to collaborate with other clubs is particularly commended. She also implemented the Club’s first Pink Patrol and promoted the Saves Lives Like a Girl LSV initiative.

Tea has been instrumental in Club improvements and initiatives. Tea implemented significant advancements in communications and engagement of youth and access to programs and key information through use of social media. This initiative has ensured information is accessed in a contemporary and relevant way for young members.

Tea embodies the values of lifesaving and volunteerism by continually going above and beyond through her commitment to all aspects of her Club and local community and encouraging and empowering other members to do the same.

DHL Club of the Year:

Trigg Island SLSC, WA

The 2020 season was a tremendous success for Trigg Island within the newly developed community engagement area, as well as the Club excelling in the areas of education, competition and member participation. Trigg Island has taken on the continued growth of their membership base, using the season to not only save lives but create great Australians through member engagement, training opportunities, surf sports development and community programs.

Some of the great achievements by the club this season are:

  • Avalanche Development Day – an intensive one day scenario based opportunity for patrol captains/vice captains utilising the WA Police Academy. The Perth Wildcats Coach Trevor Gleeson finished the day with a leadership presentation
  • Under 13 Development Camp – two day camp for 46 members focusing on leadership, friendship and team building.
  • Silver Salties was rolled out with an impressive 65 members participating.
  • Women in Surf Weekend focusing on female health and wellbeing, athletic development team building and friendship.
  • Modified Surf Carnival was held in conjunction with the Stephen Michael Foundation. 45 children with varying disabilities participating and experiencing firsthand the joys of surf sport.
  • Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre Beach Safety Program – the club welcomed 129 participants from the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre to participate in a Beach Safety Program, which included vital beach safety and awareness information and training.

In the awards and recognition space, the club also achieved SLSWA Coach of the Year, Age Group Manager of the Year, Youth Athlete of the Year, Woodside Nippers Program Coordinator of the Year, Surf Sports Team of the Year, Bernie Kelly Medal and the inaugural Nipper Surf Sports Champion.

DHL Lifeguard of the Year:

Isaac Smith

Isaac has had a tremendous influence on Lifeguards in the Northern region of the Sunshine Coast over the past year. Isaac’s most significant contribution to the lifeguard services was the implementation of the Intraservice Noosa National Park Induction. This induction has seen countless lifeguards, lifesavers and other emergency service agencies including Queensland Ambulance, Police and Fire educated on the hazard prone areas within the Noosa National Park, an area subject to numerous call outs each year. Isaac has worked at a high incident location for many years. This has led to numerous major incidents at Noosa Main Beach. It is not possible to count the actual rescues and lives he has saved through rescues and preventive actions.

Isaac gained his Cert IV in training and assessing, instructing his peers, becoming a mentor to many young lifesavers as well as working at the SLSQ Academy. Isaac is a member of the Westpac SLSQ Helicopter Service and has attended numerous major incidents through the course of the season. Isaac’s implementation and action with the Noosa National Park induction, has been one of the biggest impacts on the Lifeguard Service and Noosa Surf Club Community.

For more on all awards click here

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SLSA is Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority.

  • 315

    Surf Life Saving clubs nationwide

  • 181,000

    volunteer members*

  • 11,000

    rescues every year*

  • 1.6M

    preventative actions annually*

  • 1.4M

    hours patrolling annually*

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*2019/20 data

DHL acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.