There were a few important factors over a couple of months that came together in our minds and made us focus on this final goal of starting a new Lifesaving Club.
Frank and I are both longstanding members of the Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club. Frank as a fierce medal winning competitor and myself as a Nipper Coach and more chilled Masters competitor.
Our good friend and fellow club member, Logan Eales heads up the Llandudno Club’s Transformation portfolio. He and his team are putting in a massive effort but the rewards and growth are just not there. Kids, Juniors and Seniors from Hangberg and IY are not getting to the Llandudno Club and joining and staying.
During 2018 Frank and I realised that the Pro Lifeguards on Hout Bay beach were from Kwa Zulu Natal and not from Cape Town. There were not enough Pro Lifeguards in the Cape. We were appalled that money being paid to the Pro Lifeguards on our beach was not staying in the valley. We needed to make sure this situation changed.
The youngsters from Hangberg all have a very strong family connection to the ocean via fishing, boating, swimming in the harbour, diving and playing with the seals. They are children of the sea. The ocean is their playground. Surely we could train these youngsters to become Pro Lifeguards as a career move and as a permanent job.
In early 2019 I headed up a research team doing a study on the size, value and impact of the Ocean Sports Economy in the Cape. The findings were very exciting. A growth sector worth about R1.5bn per annum. Most importantly nearly all of the sectors we interviewed were growing and the companies were in a hiring phase, but the staff they needed required special skills and crucial to these skills would be a fundamental love of the ocean and an understanding of the ocean.
Our mission become crystal clear:
We needed to start a Lifesaving Club on Hout Bay beach for the local youngsters and teenagers.
We must bring a Club to the community, easy walking distance and open to all.
We must teach them to become Nippers, to become Lifeguards, then train them to be Professional Pool Lifeguards and then Pro Beach Lifeguards.
We must show a Career path within the Ocean Sports sectors and train these ocean youth with the skills required for permanent and meaningful jobs in the Ocean economy.
We need to use the vast knowledge, the volunteers and the skills available at Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club and it’s Transformation Team headed up by Logan Eales to assist with training.
We hit the beach running hard:
In 2019 the Hout Bay Surf Lifesaving Club was officially recognised by Lifesaving SA as it’s newest club. We train every Sunday from 10h00 to 12h00, rain or shine, summer or winter, cold or hot. Our 50+ members from Hangberg and IY are stoked. So are we!
Our first group of candidate Lifeguards completed their Swim Training last winter at the Long Street Pool, facilitated by Mzi from the City of Cape Town. They then completed their First Aid course and we were super stoked when they successfully completed and qualified as Pool Lifeguards. Contracts with the City and jobs for the 2019-2020 season were the results of their hard work.
That is why we started a Lifesaving Club on Hout Bay beach.
Onwards and Upwards HBSLC .