The people who spend their summers patrolling beaches and keeping swimmers safe were recognised and celebrated last night.

The annual Hawke's Bay Awards of Excellence, held at Napier Old Boys Marist clubrooms, recognise the hard work members of Surf Life Saving New Zealand put in over the busy summer months, and were also an opportunity for "surf friends" from around the region to catch up.

Hawke's Bay club support officer Debbie Moodie said there had been a really good turnout for the event, which celebrated the achievements of members from four sport clubs around Hawke's Bay with awards for coaches, volunteers, instructors and sportsmanship.

Based on his achievement in 2016, James Laver from the Waimarama club received the Tremains Shield for lifeguard of the year.


Ms Moodie said he had one of the highest number of patrols in the club, was driving the sponsorship search for the club's new tower, was always available to offer help, and despite living 70km from Waimarama. He had volunteered for more than 70 hours over the year.

The Durrand Cup for volunteer of the year was awarded to Jess Bennett from the Ocean Beach Kiwi club, who was active on committees within her club, as well as being on other local sport and lifeguard committees.

Ms Moodie said Ms Bennett had also been the water safety co-ordinator at the Tremains triathalon, the event manager for the Hawke's Bay championships, coached within the club, and was a lifeguard instructor and examiner.

Mr Laver and Ms Bennett's nominations will be put forward for the national awards.

There were also 15 service awards, and six distinguished service awards received by members for their surf life-saving services to the region. Mark Jenkinson of Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Life Saving Club and Kim Nilsson of Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club received life memberships.