Waipū Cove surf lifeguards have three new trophies to add to the club's cabinet after a successful evening at the Northern Region Awards of Excellence.
Saturday night's event had Jaine Curran named Instructor the Year for her role in nurturing and training future lifeguards. This season 25 people qualified as Waipū Cove lifeguards and patrol support under Curran's guidance.
Younger guard Lucy Manning, 14, won Rookie Lifeguard of the Year for her commitment to the club – which included more than 100 hours patrolling the beach.
Manning, who started her surf lifesaving journey as a six-year-old in the club's Nippers programme and became fully qualified in March, said the win was an exciting surprise.
Another big moment came for the Waipū Cove Surf Life Saving Club in the form of the Surf Life Saving Northern Region 2021 Innovation Award.
The award recognised the club's successful Coast Watchers network established in Bream Bay.
The network involves "spotters" at key vantage points along the coastline who assist the Waipū Cove Emergency Call Out Squad (ECOS).
Spotters were community members trained to recognise people in trouble. They learned how to inform the ECOS team, and provide updates to emergency services teams until rescuers arrived.
Waipū Campground staff were trained, as part of the network, to open the surf club and set up the gear – saving responding lifeguards valuable time.
A Surf Life Saving Northern Region spokesperson said the club's actions to upskill locals to be able to provide intel when guards were off duty was an example of how community engagement can help save lives.
Club captain and ECOS joint co-ordinator Kath Manning said it was a "very humbling" win given the high level of the other finalists.
"It's great to have the recognition ... we've got a great team that all have their strengths and it was about learning to play to those strengths – a key to that success."
Manning credited the innovative minds of members Rick and Angela Stolwerk, who were "constantly coming up with new ideas to improve our service".
Other Northland winners were Tania Ahrens of Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi/Ruakākā Surf Life Saving Patrol for Surf Official of the Year; Whangārei Heads surf lifeguards Lindsay Hill and Nicola Howes with Distinguished Services Awards; and their fellow club member and Northern Region Surf Life Saving search and rescue supervisor John-Michael Swannix received a Service Award.
Also on Saturday night, Mairangi Bay lifeguards Steve Kent and Danielle Mckenzie took out the top sportspeople awards at the Surf Life Saving Northern Region's annual Awards of Excellence.
The rescue of a badly injured surfer off a remote beach near Karekare has won Rescue of the Year at the awards.
The award was presented jointly to United North Piha Lifeguard Service (UNPLS) and the Piha Paid Lifeguard Service whose lifeguards combined to effect the February 17 rescue.
The United North Piha Lifeguard Service (UNPLS) was named Yamaha Club of the Year. The west coast Auckland club took the award ahead of fellow finalists Mairangi Bay Surf Life Saving Club and Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi.