Steve – President

What made you want to try surf lifesaving?

I grew up just a few meters from the beach in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, South
Africa, and it was always going to happen. As a youngster I bodysurfed before
school, surfed after rugby practice, dived, fished, swam, and paddled. Role models were important – we had many international swimmers at my school, and my Dad was involved with surf lifesaving, founded the Gunston 500 international surf contest, and when I was fifteen took me along on a surfski paddle expedition that he organised from Cape Town to Durban, 1000 miles in 28 days paddled by Tony Scott and Paul Chalupsky (Oscar’s Dad). I did my SPA (Surf Proficiency Award, the South African qualification) and in moving around the country for education, did club duties with Durban Surf, Clifton, and Richards Bay, also working as a seasonal pro surf lifesaver in Umhlanga Rocks. I wasn’t much of a competitor in any disciplines except surfski, where I was generally middle-of-the-pack, completing epic races such as the iconic PE2EL (244km); Scottburgh to Brighton; Pirates to Salt Rock; and Richards Bay to Mtunzini. I’ve paddled in Scotland, South Africa, Hawaii, Australia, and Spain.

I also served for seven years as a crewman on RNLI Lifeboat 1431, Elizabeth of
Glamis out of Broughty Ferry, Scotland. Even more than my academic life and rugby, the ocean has always been my home. I’d be very surprised if I wasn’t the first regular ski paddler in Scotland, and I was both pleased and immensely honoured to be asked to be President of Aberdeen SLSC.

What has been your favourite moment this year?

Several. Due to my job and travel, my attendance is necessarily irregular, but I’ve been getting down a bit more lately. Although I’m mainly a ‘ski paddler, I’ve really enjoyed taking the rescue board out and getting a few waves (accompanied by the resident seal) just north of the club. Ultimately, my favourite moments are being out in the ocean on my own.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the club?

The fact that we are building something good. If we can get Nippers going the club will thrive.

What would you say to anyone wanting to give surf lifesaving a try?

Above all, it’s fun! As a bonus you learn valuable skills, you make friends, and you get fit.