The Inaugural Whangamata Junior guard school went ahead with 35 guards from around the Coromandel coming together to upskill and develop their lifeguard skills and capability. Safe rock entries and exits, IRB crewing and driving, using rescue boards and various first aid scenarios all made up the practical learning components while the surf-themed amazing race, guest speaker Nathan Hight from Safe 365 and a few team challenges made up the rest of the weekend. Brian Pittams captured some of the action on Sunday when the sun broke through the clouds. The Whangamata SLSC is celebrating recent wins at the SLSER Awards of Excellence with Beach Education Instructor of the Year Tyler Ranger; Sportsperson of the Year U14 Male Finn Freemantle and Open Sportswoman of the Year Madison Kidd. Onemana SLSC’S Phoebe Havill (whose secondary club is Whangamata) took out Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year, Instructor of the Year and Examiner of the Year — go Phoebe! There are 74 Surf Life Saving NZ clubs throughout the country including in Hot Water Beach, Tairua, Pauanui, Onemana, Whangamata, Whiritoa and Waihi Beach and all are run by volunteers.