Becoming a Bronzed Aussie
This weekend I passed my proficiency test and will soon be awarded a surf lifesaving Bronze Medallion.
This means I am not only qualified to wear a red and yellow fashion statement, but also to go on patrol and rescue you when you get stung by bluebottles or caught in the rip or any of the other hazards of Australian beaches. No need to thank me, it's all part of the job.
In order to become a surf lifesaver you have to be able to perform basic first aid and CPR, rescue people from the water using boards and rescue tubes, and have extensive beach and surf lifesaving knowledge.
Most importantly, you have to be able to swim in the surf. This was the hard part for me, because I am a pretty terrible swimmer. To pass the exam, you have to do a 200m run on the sand, followed by a 200m swim (out to sea and back again), followed by another 200m run; all in eight minutes. Needless to say, I trained quite a bit for this part.
Overall, it was quite a challenge and hugely satisfying to have passed the test.
I highly recommend getting involved in a community volunteer organisation such as a surf club. It's a fantastic way to meet new people, and my fellow bronzies were such a great bunch. Much respect and appreciation to our instructors, whose dedication and commitment to our success was limitless. Everyone at Bronte Surf Club should be proud of them.
See you on the beach - and don't forget to swim between the flags.