Season of devoted duty celebrated

Heroic rescues, teamwork, sporting prowess and volunteer spirit by lifeguards from the five Hawke's Bay clubs have been recognised.

The regional Awards of Excellence were held at the East Pier Bay & Brasserie on Sunday to celebrate the end of another successful season of saving lives, dealing to injuries and making our beaches safer.

The awards covered coaching, lifeguard duties and surf sports, showcasing strong regional talent on the national and international stage.

Rescue of the Year award went to Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club for an incident that occurred during the busy Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Lifeguards saw a boat flip about 1km off shore while trying to make its way out to sea, throwing two men overboard.

The lifeguards dispatched the IRB and on arrival, found one of the men struggling to keep his head above the surface.

Both men were rescued from the water, returned to shore and made a full recovery.

The two men returned to the club later in the week of their rescue to thank the lifeguards for saving their lives.

One of them said that he had ``given up and did not expect to survive and was immensely grateful at seeing those hands reach down and pluck him from the water''.

Volunteer of the Year went to Karen Hamilton from Pacific Surf Life Saving Club for her positive attitude as hall hire liaison, committee member, and club coach.

Karen assists with running regional events, helping with catering, time keeping, and keeping a watchful eye to ensure events run smoothly. She is described as a ``positive ambassador for surf life saving on a whole thanks to her can-do attitude and numerous hours behind the scenes''.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Paul Dalton said: ``The amount of work that our volunteers put in year round is incredible.

``These awards are a great time for Surf Life Saving New Zealand to thank all surf lifeguards and volunteers in each region and to congratulate all the winners for their outstanding achievements _ on and off the beach.''

During the past season Hawkes Bay Surf Lifeguards provided 13,544 hours of patrols, performed 50 rescues, administered 84 first aids and conducted seven searches.

They also performed 4675 preventative actions involving 12,704 people.-->

Awards of Excellence

Outstanding Sport Person/Team Performance: Michael Harman, Ben Cross, Leila Cross

Coach of the Year: Karen Hamilton (Pacific SLSC)

Surf Official of the Year: Denys Carpenter (Pacific SLSC)

Volunteer of the Year: Karen Hamilton (Pacific SLSC)

Instructor of the Year: Chris Taylor (Riversdale SLSC)

Lifeguard of the Year: Leighton Calkin (Riversdale SLSC)

Club of the Year: Riversdale

SLSC Rescue of the Year:  Waimarama SLSC-->

- Hawkes Bay Today

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