The BP Surf Rescue Media Awards were held on Friday night in Wellington with Sean Ridler from Tairua Surf Life Saving Club and the Taranaki Rescue Squad taking away the premiere awards of New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Lifeguard of the Year and the BP Surf Rescue of the Year.
The NZLGB Surf Lifeguard of the Year was awarded to Sean Ridler for his commitment and dedication as a lifeguard during the 2004/2005 season.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Chief Executive, Geoff Barry, commended Sean. “Sean’s commitment and dedication to surf lifesaving is outstanding. He is involved in every facet of surf lifesaving, at club, district and national level, a member who is truly in it for life.
Since Sean’s initial Surf Life Saving involvement began ten years ago, his contribution and undertaking of numerous responsibilities to promote and support participation in surf lifesaving in both the Bay of Plenty and the Tairua Club has been truly exceptional.
During the 2004/2005 season Sean was the Tairua Club Captain for the fourth consecutive year. He instructed Club members at all levels, from Junior Surf through to Senior Lifeguard Schools and IRB qualifications. Organising challenging rescue scenarios, encouraging the implementation of the latest educational and medical techniques, instructing parts of the junior programme himself and creating a bi monthly newsletter was just something he did.’
The Taranaki Rescue Squad was awarded the prestigious BP Surf Rescue Award for the November 17 rescue of a kite surfer off the Waitara coast. Phil Dwyer, Murray Chong, Mark Woodward, Zhaine Northcott and Adam and Kent Fraser searched in fading light and big seas for the kite surfer who had been missing for three hours.
Geoff Barry commended the six on their efforts. “The way in which these lifeguards carried out the search and then the rescue was highly professional, they executed an almost text book rescue with a very positive outcome. Without those lifeguards involved in the rescue, the outcome would have almost certainly been far less positive.
Lester Thorley from the Waikato Times was the recipient of the Best Surf Life Saving Story in Print with his feature “Life Savers following the lifeguards at Raglan’s Ngarunui Beach for 24 hours. Mark Taylor formerly of the Taranaki Daily News and now of the Waikato Times won Best Surf Life Saving Photo in Print with his shot which according to the judges, “Captured the human endeavour behind being in it for life.