For the past quarter of a century, Wayne Marsh has been passing on his passion for the sport of trampolining to hundreds of Central Hawke's Bay youngsters.

Twenty-five years ago this month, Marsh founded the Ricochet Trampoline Club, which has been based out of the Waipukurau War Memorial Hall since 2011 and includes youngsters as young as 5 up to high-performance athletes.

It has had a few homes over the years, but under Marsh's guidance the small club has produced international-standard competitors and national trampoline champions and is still going strong, with all sessions full.

On the eve of the club's 25th birthday, Marsh, a former national champion and international judge, thought it was time to explain the club's name.

Advertisement

"I never really told anyone the true or suggested meaning in case they thought it too sentimental. To me it means, 'To rebound back with energy' - an ode to my first trampoline club, High Flyers, and the continuation of that history."

Marsh credits High Flyers coach Iris Temple, a teacher at CHB College from England, for introducing him and a generation of CHB youngsters to the now Olympic sport.

In the late 1960s as a 9-year-old, Marsh was watching his older brother at gymnastics training at the college on a Saturday, the same day the trampoline club trained.

"While Iris went off for a break, my brother encouraged me to hop up on the trampoline and give it a go. The next minute the students were saying, 'do a flip', so I did, and landed on my feet. 'Do it again', they said, but this time I over-cooked it and landed flat on my face.

"Iris had been watching. Next thing I knew she was arranging training for me during the week and on Saturday."

Marsh stayed a member of the High Flyers from 1969 to 1976 before moving to Auckland to train with the New Zealand team to compete in Australia.

When he returned to Waipawa in 1991 he was saddened to find his old club no longer operating.

Despite being out of the sport for a decade, the old trampolines were still at the college so Marsh started running recreational classes the next year.

"I was determined that, regardless of the size of our town, our students would have the same opportunity to compete on the national and international stage. I would hate to think that some child with ability would not be realised if a club was not available."

In 1992 new equipment was bought and the classes moved into the Waipawa United Rugby Club gymnasium in Coronation Park in Waipawa.

"Our numbers exploded to a roll of 85 eager young bouncers, and it was very apparent that we needed to officially form a club and put a committee in place quickly, in time for the beginning of 1993. And here we are 25 years later."

The club competed at its first New Zealand National Championship in 1993, sending a team of 12 and returning with one national title, a second and two thirds.

Cherie Brightwell was the club's first bouncer to represent New Zealand at a World Championships, in Portugal in 1994.

She was followed by brothers Keith and Simon Whelpton (Canada, 1996), Jamie Crawford and Renee Baarspul (Germany 2003), Lisa and Megan McIvor (the Netherlands, 2005), and Jordan Twigge and Robert Crawford (USA, 2014).

Other club members to represent New Zealand include Rhonda Lee, who won silver at the 1995 Indo Pacific Championships in Japan to give the club its first international medal.

Other New Zealand representatives included Bridie Chote, Monique Baarspul, Amanda Aldridge, Leon Larsen and Courtney Kelly.

As well as club coach, Marsh has coached or managed several New Zealand teams that have competed overseas, acted as an international judge and is a life member of Gymnastics NZ - which oversees trampolining - for 13 years.

"Yet my favourite calling is still as a coach for my club," Marsh said.

"Our club has won many awards over the years with many successful athletes, but I never thought I was a great coach. I just hoped that I would be considered reliable and dependable, and perhaps able to say the right thing at the right time when that important need arises."

The club will be celebrating with a cake at its March 26 club night.