Volunteers of the seven Far South Coast surf clubs were recognised for their efforts after a tough season of bushfires and COVID-19.
The 2019/2020 season was cut short, but members of the Far South Coast Surf Life Saving Branch still went above and beyond.
Branch president Tony Rettke was pleased by the many nominations received for the annual awards presentation.
He thanked all clubs and congratulated those nominated.
"The whole coast has had a tough time since New Year's Eve; all the clubs have performed incredibly well under the circumstances of fires and COVID," he said.
"Sadly there has been quite a disconnection between the clubs, and because of that, we have really done our best as a branch to keep the clubs together through zoom meetings."
He said members were itching for some "vitamin sea" and a fuller season for 2020/21.
Creative minds in the branch collaborated ideas for the annual presentation. With the help of Sally Macintosh of SLSNSW and crew of the Lifesaver 23 rescue chopper, a clever presentation video was created.
Branch members, Sean Hendry, Andrew Edmunds and Cheryl McCarthy interviewed and filmed each nominee, keeping the winner undisclosed until the premiere.
Mr Rettke was impressed by their efforts.
"It was such a creative way to give our outstanding members the recognition they deserve," he said.
For all nominees and winners, visit the Surf Lifesaving Far South Coast Facebook page.
See this year's award winners below.
Branch Person of the Year - Anthony Bellette, Batemans Bay
Anthony Bellette is known to be a smooth operator in high-stress situations, always stepping up and demonstrating calm leadership.
During the New Year's Eve bushfire event, thousands took refuge at the surf club in Malua Bay. With the help of other members, Bellette set up and ran the evacuation centre at the surf club.
Over seven days, Bellette's leadership and organisational skills were heavily drawn on during the bushfire emergency.
His actions shone through as he helped distribute food, water and basic needs to those who required assistance - all while not knowing whether his home or family had been affected by the fire that swept through the area.
The Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club is now seen as a community-based organisation willing to go above its core business of surf lifesaving.
Bellette is club captain and training officer. He is a Branch duty officer and Batemans Bay call out team coordinator. He has also been instrumental in the development and delivery of drone training along the Far South Coast during peak patrol times.
Lifesaver of the Year - Andrew Curven, Bermagui
Andrew Curven is Bermagui SLSC club captain and the FSC Branch powercraft coordinator. He completed more than 94 hours of patrol throughout the season. He is also a support operations member as Rescue Water Craft operator and drone pilot. Curven slept at the clubhouse for seven nights during the bushfire emergency to ensure safety of the club and community. He also provides water safety for Nippers and the Same Wave program.
Rookie Lifesaver of the Year - Ruby Bichard, Pambula
As rookie of the year, Ruby Bichard showed great enthusiasm throughout the season, racking up 42.5 patrol hours. She provides water safety for Nippers and the Same Wave program. Ruby is looking to do extra training in 20/21 after the season was cut short. She also mentors cadet members
Young Branch Person of the Year - Ryley Spoelder-Hanlon, Moruya
Ryley achieved 52 hours of volunteer patrols during the season. He gained his Silver Medallion Beach Management award and is in training for his IRB Driver qualification. Ryley helps out as water safety and Special Nippers.
Team of the Year - Batemans Bay 180yrs Phoenix
The Phoenix surfboat crew are state gold medal holders and second-place getters of the Ocean Thunder series. The team has assisted with many duties at their club, including Nippers. They continued to train despite adversity through bushfires and other distractions and were awarded for their efforts.
Trainer of the Year - Emma Prowse, Pambula
Emma Prowse is Pambula Surf Lifesaving Club's chief training officer and was awarded for her encouragement towards new active members and role model qualities. Prowse is a patrol captain and ran a multi club bronze medallion course as well as taking on a new role as FSC duty officer.
Coach of the Year - Rob Pollock, Broulee Surfers
Rob Pollock's surfboat crew is comprised of members from Broulee and Pambula clubs. The Broulee Wombats won the open women's division at the Interbranch Carnival. Pollock assisted with the bushfire response and a first aid emergency during the George Bass Marathon.
Administrator of the Year - Marcela Vitouchova, Pambula
The Myril Bunt Administrator of the Year award went to Marcela Vitouchova for her many roles and achievements at Pambula Surf Life Saving Club. She fulfills many tasks as the Club Director of Member Administration and serves as an active patrol member. She has streamlined the club registration process and helps out with Nippers.
Services Team of the Year - Batemans Bay Bushfire Response Team
The team at Batemans Bay SLSC stepped up in a big way to assist their community during the New Year's Eve bushfire emergency. With Malua Bay cut off and under direct threat the team sheltered people, provided food and first aid support to thousands of people. The clubhouse continued to be used as a community hub for the next 10 days.
The team included club members: Anthony Bellette, Kate Fetterplace, Pete Fetterplace, Ali Ryan, Jess Guthrie, Tayla Wallace, Karen Wallace, Lexus Knight and Deb Bellette.