He may not have a background in the sport but new Pāpāmoa Surf Lifesaving Club coach Chas Clark is determined to see the club thrive.
Clark will take up the senior coaching role at the club, bringing knowledge from the fitness industry. Clark has managed gyms in Brisbane and Sydney and has owned Crossfit Alliance in Pāpāmoa for four-and-a-half years.
"I have worked with cyclists, triathletes and ironman athletes. I have never done surf before [as a competitor] but I love what the club stands for, at the gym we are all about community and a family environment – they are very much the same [at Pāpāmoa] they have fun when training, but put the work in when they need to. They have a very strong culture behind them."
Clark says he is "pretty cruisy" and is looking to introduce some new elements to the coaching.
"I am firm, but I understand you need to have fun with it. I am not going to drill sergeant them at all, but it does take a lot to impress me. We want to be able to turn up to nationals in March looking like we have been training for five months. We want to show a presence and if we can get top three or top five in events I will be stoked.
"They are very driven by the strength of the whole group, having that strong group behind them is great.
"We are trying to pull that base of training back and do Ks upon Ks on the water. We will use some variations on training including Crossfit and team activities to build the team morale up. If I stand behind my knowledge and background it will pay off."
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Clark says there are 26 senior athletes of which he would like to see 20 competing at the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships in Gisborne in March.
"I would like to see that grow, I would like 20 at nationals and between now and then it is keeping them healthy and motivated."
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He says he may get involved in competing, but has previously been more of a freshwater guy.
"I may compete in certain areas and I am doing the beach run of the Mount Monster but I am going to try and do a bit more ski and board events. I always want to try different sports and I love swimming in the ocean."
Pāpāmoa Surf Lifesaving Club chairperson Angela Hayden says the club has changed the structure of its coaching setup.
"In the past, we had a fulltime head coach who split their time between seniors and juniors," Hayden says.
"The whole club coach is a really busy role. We decided to split into junior and senior then it takes the pressure off. I think it is fantastic that we have junior members with their own coach."
Hayden also spoke about assistant senior coach Jake Cowdrey and Jack Bullock, our Ocean Athlete's coach Jack Bullock. Both have been a part of surf lifesaving since they were young and with Clark it makes up a good team.
"To have Chas involved is great, the dynamic is very exciting. It means our athletes get something from outside of surf.
"One of the things we want this season is to lift our participation in sport, and generally have fitter faster lifeguards."
New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships:
March 12-15, 2020
Midway Beach, Gisborne