Bondi Surfer No. 97

Bondi Surfer No. 97

Friday morning Ins and Outs – aka Love Squad – has gained its own paparazzi. The featured shot is from last Friday and they’ve also featured twice on Aquabumps.

Intro & Welcome

Summer is almost upon us and it has been great to see our patrols looking so strong and capable on the beach.  Every weekend the Club has been a hive of activity and I appreciate how everyone has managed to be accommodating with so much happening.

Thanks to all who commented on the last bumper Surfer – the praise should go to Caroline Pierce who has worked hard to collate a vast range of stories.  Please send any items to the editor that you would like included; births, marriages, events and activities are all welcome.

You have probably seen the four Bronze courses and a 35-strong SRC program hitting the waves every weekend and we look forward to all that extra help as we start the holiday season. Well done to our dedicated team of trainers and assessors.

Also well done to the Marketing team who have delivered a new website at, launched a series of new social events, and are developing our social media dominance of everything Bondi!  If you would like an RSS feed of the news from the site please use this link.

We need your help to raise the profile of the Club. This will increase the chances of us attracting both members and sponsors.  To help, connect to the Club across our various social media platforms and like or review us – this increases the clubs visibility on these platforms.  The key platforms are:

  • Facebook – like and review the Club page
  • Linkedin – like or follow our site, even add your roles at the club as employment to discover connections
  • Instagram – post photos with the #bondisurfclub #bondibeach #livesaving and also like the Club photos at @bondisblsc

Congratulations to the Nipper team on a fantastic Waverley Shield last weekend. Even though Narelle’s team have so much on already, they excelled at planning and delivering an incredible carnival for 1,500 nippers that was highly organised and great fun.

Brent Jackson

This Week’s Patrols and Proficiencies

Saturday 23 November
8:30am-1:15pm       Fullwood
12:45pm-6:30pm   Besomo

Sunday 24 November
7:30am-1:15pm       McDonald
12:45pm-6:30pm   Baldock

There are no proficiencies being run at the Club this weekend.

There’s been a change of time for the next Spinal proficiency – it’s now at 2pm next Sunday (1 December). ART proficiency is still on at 9am on Sunday 1 December.

The next Bronze/SRC proficiency is the following Saturday (7 December) at 9am.

All the dates and details for proficiencies can be found here and you can sign up here.

House Rules

We have a large and busy Club and that means we need some rules to help all the various uses get along. The full set of Club Rules can be found here, but some topical ones recently would include:

  • If you are wet, enter through wet entrance
  • Please monitor children in the showers and limit time spent so others can use and to save water
  • There is a bike rack on the Pavilion side of the Club – please use it.  Bikes are not allowed in the hall as they damage the walls
  • Keep boards out of the flags (and buffer zone) – there’s more on this below

Events & Reminders

Key Dates

  • Sydney Airport Centenary Runway Run – 23 November
  • Ron Turner Memorial Surf Race Round 1 – 24 November
  • “Let’s Talk” Mental Health Talk #2 at Bottles – 24 November
  • Veterans’ Day – 6 December
  • Beach Tech – 7 December
  • 3rd Annual Clubbie Classic – 8 December
  • Inter Surf Club Bar Hop – 8 December
  • BM3 graduation and presentation – 8 December

Find more information on the Club Facebook page.

Clubbie of the Month

Our November Clubbie of the Month is Stephen McKenzie.

Not all the work of the Club is carried out on the beach in Speedos. One of the quiet achievers in the club is our Honorary Legal Officer Stephen McKenzie.  Every week he looks over contracts, letters, agreements, employment documents, activations and policies for the Board and members of the management team to ensure the Club’s best interests are protected.

Bondi is a significant brand, and Stephen protects our reputation and assets – thanks Stephen!

Catching Up

Happy 50th Duckies

Fifty years since the introduction of one of our vital pieces of rescue equipment was celebrated earlier this month. The use of IRBs revolutionised lifesaving which had previously relied on the belt and reel for rescues.

There were more than 80 IRB rescues on our beach alone last year, plus nipper water safety, ocean swim and ski safety and competition.

Check out the great video history here  and see some familiar faces around 7:13-7:26! Plus a big interview with Club legend and National/State coordinator Peter Burst from 1.59-3:35. Video stars: Daniel Spooner, Jane Hosking, Graeme Wong, Phil Nee, Anne-Marie Kruk, Gwen Cavrois, Mark Travers, Jasmine Parker, Courtney Date, Paul Williams, Peter Burst, Tim Ritchie, Mark Durrington (Panda), Bradley Van Dam, Trevor Cooper-Williams, Gaelyn, John Voykovic, Scott Laney, Peter Kramel (Info), Mick Martin, Eric Merson and Rocky Freer.

IRB Captain Alex Ayscough was behind the resurgence of the Club’s IRB Racing Team last season. In their first season back competing, they won the Club’s first national gold medal since the late 1990s and the Masters team came third place overall at the Australian IRB Championships.

If you’re interested in joining the IRB team, there’s more in the Lifesaving section below. The next IRB Crew Course is starting soon.

This season, Max Gonzalez will be leading and developing our Drone Operations team at Bondi, the latest surf lifesaving innovation on our beaches. Branch and State support services will be assisting the roll out of this new and exciting surveillance area for patrols.

Things Are Getting Hairy

As part of Movember we’ve assembled a Gallery of Mos you’ll see around the Club and on the beach. Some are well-established, some are starting out, some are just for the month. You may recognise some of them, guessing others may start a conversation and that’s what Movember is all about.

Globally one man takes his own life every minute and that’s simply not OK. Many others die from testicular or prostate cancer because they’re not doing simple, regular checks. Movember shines a light on men’s health – mental and physical. By 2030, its aim is to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.

Neil Collins has put together a Club Movember team. They’ll be holding a Bottles raffle and awarding a Mo of the Month. You can still get on board by signing up today to join the team or making a donation.

And start a conversation – ask a friend or stranger “Are you OK?”, make time to check in with friends and fellow Clubbies, talk about what’s really going on and listen. Being there for someone can be lifesaving.

Mental Health + Spiritual Welbeing

This Sunday (24 November) at Bottles the second of our “Let’s Talk” series of community mental health talks hosted by our Chaplain Marty Nezval for the season is on. Come hear our own Blake Hatton present on the role of Spirituality for wellbeing from 5.00pm in the Blue Room.

Perhaps bring a friend or family member who might need an uplifting equipping message at the moment. Then stay enjoy the view and great food of the Blue Room.

The Stuff of Legends

The 8th annual Bondi Surf Club Legends Lunch was held on Friday 18 October at Darling Island Wharf. The lunch was again an outstanding success raising in excess of $25,000.

The long-standing MC, media personality Tony Squires did a great job, again making everyone laugh and keeping the day moving. Guest speaker comedian, rugby tragic and Australian Sudoku Champion Mick Collis had attendees in stitches as he shared his unique journey to become the Australian Sudoku Champion. Joining Mick as guest speakers were father and son combination Rugby League legend Steve “Blocker” Roach and Dual Water Polo Olympian AJ Roach. Blocker could have kept the audience entertained all day with stories of the ’80’s and AJ with his story of the journey to becoming a dual Olympian.

The lunch attracted a great attendance with more than 300 people attending. We were again very grateful for the support of our long-term major partner The Royal Oak Double Bay.

From the money raised, $5,000 will be donated to International Lifesaving to assist with drowning prevention programs in Malaysia and to the Kinabalu Life Saving Society (KLSS). To check out the great work they do, go to the KLSS Facebook page.

Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo which has become a thriving tourist destination with its main attraction being the sea. There have been some recent drownings and the KLSS needs assistance with surf lifesaving, beach management guidance and rescue equipment.

The remaining $20,000 will be used to provide support to the junior ‘Blue and White’ Academy. the Club rebuild fund and surf sports.

Thank you to the Legends Lunch committee: Adam Nezval, Andrew Hoggett, Kieran Varcoe, Bronte Morgan and Grant Baldock.

Gallery of the BREMS in action and conversation including the University of Bondi Beach degree awarded to distinguished members, “testament to the depth and breadth of the learning opportunities available”. Image credits: Hugh Stewart (top right), Tony Rich and Chris Selby.

On For Young and All

If you’ve ever been at the Club in the early morning, you’ll have seen the BREMS. Who are these guys heading down to the water in their Speedos in even the chilliest conditions? James Allison has the answers.

Bondi Surf Club has a long history of focus on this magnificent bay since the Club’s creation in 1907. Its members are drawn from many different backgrounds – different countries of birth, different upbringings and different occupations – but they all share a common love of the ocean and its life-affirming qualities.

My first experience of the remarkable group that is BREMS (Bondi Regular Early Morning Surfers) was in 1992. I’d just moved into the area and Keiran Speed, who had sold us our home, suggested I might like to join the Club as an Associate to “jog with the early morning group”. This was my introduction to year-round early morning bodysurfing and swimming.

What I found was the most interesting and engaging group of men and women (but mostly men) who share a love of the ocean. More than that, they enjoy great camaraderie while keeping fit and maintaining a really healthy start to every day.  And then there’s the joking, the banter, the conversation about everything from architecture to zookeeping – you name it, someone has some specific knowledge of the subject.

I have been witness to discussions about business difficulties, child-rearing challenges, marital and household disputes and on so many occasions the advice provided was instrumental in solving the issue – like having your own “brains trust” on hand.

When you are in hospital, the BREMS visit you. When it is time for a life celebration, the BREMS will turn out in force and make the gathering a fun one. And look good when dressed up for the occasion! Even when the end of life comes, they will turn up at the funeral and outnumber the other people in your life.

This is a group of people who genuinely care about each other. During the post-surf shower the changerooms are filled with banter, piss-taking and genuine mirth that reaches a crescendo around 7am when it’s time to depart for coffee and more conversation. The changeroom then falls eerily silent as if nothing had gone on that morning – a ghost room.

The BREMS range in age from around 30 to 90. To someone entering our post-surf changeroom for the first time, it must seem like entering a 1950s era pub – at times it’s mayhem but mostly it’s just noisy and full of life and activity. In an age of uncertainty and anxiety about ourselves, our families, our nation and of mankind itself, the great leveller the BREMS provide is positive therapy.

So I say to all members of our great surf club, when you come across the BREMS on an early morning during the week, say hello and be welcomed. We’re a group of people who, like you, are drawn to the ocean for the life-affirming properties it provides. Consider us simply older versions of yourselves, albeit with a few more years of wisdom. You might just end up one of us one day!

If you’re lucky! – ed. 

G’Day Mates

Three of our members gained their Australian citizenship at a ceremony on the same day last week. Congratulations to Holly Joshi, Emma Savage and Mark Fabik.

Lest We Forget

Our war memorials are now listed on the NSW War Memorial Register so people can find their ancestors who served in the Club. You can see the two wooden honour boards in the Main Hall including some photographs and flag with badges and click on the links to search the Club’s World War I and World War II honour rolls.

Paddling Home Run

Charlie Watts’ paddle for charity from Coogee to Bondi on 27 October was a great success. He and friends Harry, Tom and Leilani (left to right above) completed the job in 48 minutes. Charlie set himself the goal of raising $5,000 for the Intensive Care Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospital where he lay for five days earlier this year, his life hanging in the balance after a skating accident. He’d raised more than $5,400 through his GoFundMe page at last count!

Thanks to everyone at the Club who supported the paddle, especially Youth Captain Nicola Watkins (far right above).

Marketing & Sponsorship

Bus Sponsors Needed!

To help our lifesavers and nippers to training sessions, competitions and off-site patrols the Club is looking to get a 14-seater bus. This bus will be great for moving our teams around and improve Club culture and team spirit.

A Bus Operation Procedure has been prepared to ensure a high level of care and maintenance is provided for the bus. We are looking for sponsors or donors to contribute $1,000 per year for five years towards the bus lease costs. All sponsors and donors will get an A3 size logo on the bus. Exposure for your business will be excellent with the bus  being parked in front of the Club when not in use (subject to council approval).

So if you, your business or a friend’s business would be interested in this sponsorship opportunity please contact Marketing.

Competition for Sunnies

Thanks to Local Supply Thanks for their kind donation of sunnies to Bondi’s patrolling members. Those who registered received their pair at Bottles or on patrol.

Now Local Supply is giving you the chance to win 1 of 5 triple packs. Get set for summer with brand new shades. Simply follow this link, enter your details and go in the draw to win!


Fires Spark Surf Club Alert

Bondi Life Saving had a true test of our Emergency response last week with our Emergency Call Out Team being put on high alert.

During the recent catastrophic fire warnings across NSW, SLS Operations put all Sydney clubs on emergency standby to assist in the event that evacuations were needed along our coastline, primarily in the national parks south of Sydney.

Our Bondi Emergency Call Out list – which can be actioned by SLS nationally, State, Branch and at Club level – consists of our President, Director of Lifesaving and a selection of locally-based skilled lifesavers who are qualified in Gold Medallion, Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue, Advanced Resuscitation Techniques , First Aid, Experienced IRB Drivers and Crew.

Anyone interested in joining the Call Out Team should email the Captain of Lifesaving.

We also put a call out to members from Emergency Services and Military backgrounds to come forward, who were also put on standby.

The alerts were issued on Sunday 10 November and Monday 11 November for a potential call out on Tuesday 12 November. No call out was actioned and we were stood down on Wednesday 13 November.

A big thank you to our team who put things on hold, stocked our IRB shed in preparation and moved work commitments to be on call out for our State Emergency Services.

We have since received a thank you from Sydney Branch and NSW Governor Margaret Beazley for our support and ability to assist.

First 2019/20 Bronzies on Patrol

It’s fantastic to see our first Bronze Medallion graduates for 2019/20 stepping onto patrols and starting to manage the flags here at Bondi. Best of luck for the season. Remember your training has only just begun!

Surf Craft Buffer Zones

You will notice on either side of the red and yellow flags that we now have buffer zone signs in place. Surf craft are prohibited within the areas indicated by these signs and in the flagged area.

The Surf Craft Prohibited signs are generally 10-15 metres off the flags and are areas that do not allow surf craft in. They are designed to protect the flags on our busy beach from surf craft and keep swimmers safe.

We also ask patrols to use the red and yellow patrol buoys and place them in line with these signs to aid us in protecting the flags from craft.

Can I ask all members either training or for recreation to adhere to the signage rules in place.

Bondi Patrols on Tour

Bondi’s first Destination Patrol of the year – at Garie on 9 November – was a great success (for more see the full report below) and Destination PC Felicity McArthur has organised another three at the Club in the Royal National Park this season. They’re on:

  • 29 February – Ormsby’s PC Tom Levi is the person to talk to if you’re interested in joining
  • 14 March – Youth weekend, contact Youth Captain, Nicola Watkins
  • 21 March – Up for grabs! Contact Felicity if you and a bunch of friends would like to head down – PC/VC/IRBD/IRBC required

Our other major Destination Patrol this season will be to Pacific Palms, three hours’ drive north on the weekend of 4-5 January.

This stunning beach in the Booti Booti National Park has less than 50 patrolling members for the WHOLE club and they patrol Elizabeth Beach every day of the Summer, Easter and Autumn school holidays. You can imagine how they’d love to be given the weekend off by us!!

Last year they were fabulous hosts, providing the drinks and hanging out with us in the evening, as 30 of us slept the two nights on the clubhouse floor, enjoyed barbecues, hikes, fun on the beach and were treated to the glorious sunrises from their surf club balcony. Pictures from last year by Almog Koren are featured above.

Registrations for Pacific Palms on 4-5 January are almost FULL (IRB Drivers needed). Get in quick and register your interest here if you’re keen!

The Club is looking to expand its destination patrol section. “Any suggestions are welcome -Tassie, Darwin, Gold Coast anyone? Get in touch, I’ll organise it!” said Felicity.

If you’re interested in heading to Pacific Palms or anywhere else, email Destination PC Felicity McArthur.

Team Taught the Pick Up and Hook

Last Saturday (16 November), the IRB division were lucky enough to participate in a skills refresher course run by the NSW State IRB racing coach and assistant coach – Damien Woods and Nixy Krite.

Participants were put through their paces learning new rescue techniques via both dry land drills to ensure correct crew and driver positioning and water time practising techniques live. New techniques included “2pm pickups” and the “approach from sea and hook” with the second being put into practice very successfully on patrol that very afternoon.

The IRB team got a lot out of the workshop in a short amount of time and we are very thankful to Damien and Nixy for sharing their knowledge with us.

If you’d like to join the IRB team (aka the coolest part of lifesaving) we’re running our next crew course starting on 11 January. Please email the IRB Captain Alex Ayscough  to get your name on the list! Feel free to ask Alex any questions if you’re on the fence about signing up too.

Movie Night

HSC exams over, our Year 12s are off to Schoolies this week. We wish them all a safe and enjoyable time!

The Club’s first Youth Movie Night will be held in the clubhouse tomorrow night (Friday 22 November) from 7.30pm! Pizza and drinks will be provided. Please bring your own bean bag/seating for comfort! Details regarding the movie itself are to come – think of it as a surprise!


Update from Director, Amber Jones

Hi All,

Feedback so far is that you are loving the concept of proficiency on patrol and seeing as more than 150 of you are now proficient something’s definitely working. We still have 200+ members who need to get their proficiency done, so get yourself along to a proficiency or get it done on patrol.

We also have some higher award proficiencies coming up on 1 December. The spinal proficiency has been moved to 2pm so as to not clash with the Bondi 2 Bronte but the ART proficiency will still be on as planned at 9am.

All the dates and details for proficiencies can be found here and you can sign up here.

That’s all from me, I’ll hand to our excellent trainers for updates on their groups.


BM2 – The Hoff Squad

Congratulations to Bondi’s newest lifesavers  – the Hoff Squad. They passed their assessments last week, the Part B in tough conditions on Sunday, with flying colours and celebrated at Bottles on Sunday night.

It’s been an amazing journey, seeing the progress of the group develop over the past eight weeks and we wish them well in their next chapter as fully fledged Bondi lifesavers.

The Hoffs will be sharing their Baywatch style and skills on patrol with McDonald (Xavier Molyneux and Jules Kirk), Besomo (George Longbottom and Stephan Prils), Craven (Scott Wright), Fletcher (Damon Basserabie and Ben Mattes), Fullwood (Andrew LeBreton), Ormsby (Emily Plastow, Ruth Goumans and Sophia Kent) and Special Duties (Sophie Ansel).

A big thank you to the dedicated team of the trainers – Toby Iemma, Sarah Forde, Lyndsey Anderson, Avani Jagavkar, Richard Nicholas, Anne-Marie Kruk, and Jack Newman – for ensuring the squad lived up to the reputation of their namesake!

BM3 – Shark Bait

BM3 or “Shark Bait” is now half way through the pilot on-line only program.  As with any new course format there have been some teething problems but fortunately we have a strong group of bronzies and a good group of trainers.

The Shark Bait team are busy learning skills, having completed First Aid last weekend and getting in extra board work during the week due to the heavy swells. Please say hi if you see them around the Club.

Waverley Bronzies

We are in our second year of the Waverley College-Bondi SBLSC partnership and the crew for this season are travelling along swimmingly.

We’re about to enter Week Five of the seven-week program. The boys have been incredibly attentive, studious and keen! Some students have already done rescues on their shadow patrols.

Their final exams will be next Tuesday (26 November) and the following Saturday (30 November). If you see them around the Club, please make them feel welcome and part of the Bondi Surf Club family.

Bondi Surf Club and Waverley College share a long history with the relationship featured in the College’s Wavelength magazine earlier this year. You can read the whole article here, but an interesting fact that stands out is that of the Club’s 18 living Life Members, eight are also Waverley Old Boys.

SRC Training

Our graduating Nippers, the Under 14s, have also been training hard for the Surf Rescue Certificate with instructors Jeremy Davis and Sam Wolf. Thirty-five of them are completing the course with assessments at the start of December in time for their presentation and celebrations at Bottles on Sunday 8 December.

Bronze Training – Upcoming Courses

Our next Bronze group – Lightning, an intensive course held over one week – starts on December 9. If you know anyone who’s interested, get them to sign up at or email

You can get more info and dates on Bronze courses here.

Higher Awards – Upcoming Courses

There’s a Spinal Management course on this Saturday 23 November.

The next Advanced Resuscitation Techniques Course also starts this weekend – on Sunday (24 November) for a full day from 8am, with follow-up sessions on Wednesday and Thursday nights (27 and 28 November).

Gold Medallion is on next weekend (Saturday 30 November) at Maroubra. There are 11 Bondi members planning on going for gold: Michael Barry, Cate Brighenti, Courtney Date, Mark Fabik, Robyn Farmer, Kristy McIntyre, Dori Miller, Jonathan Potts, Damon Somerfield, Aurelien Soupart and Sam Wolf.

Book into courses by following this link and clicking on “book in here now”.

Life Member Q&A

Just some of Cyril’s sporting achievements including Aussies gold in R&R as coach to a team that included son Grant (bottom left) and as a junior competitor in 1959-60 (bottom right) taken from the gallery of Aussies gold you’ll see on the walls of the Club’s Main Hall; his Channel swim and as a triathlete this year. 

Competition, Coaching, Service – A Life at Bondi 

By Michael Fischer

The word legend can be thrown around too easily but when it comes to Bondi SBLSC there’s no one more fitting of the title than Life Member, Cyril Baldock. This true legend sat down recently and responded to some questions.

Cyril, if we could begin. What made you first join Bondi SBLSC?
I was in Bondi Swimming Club in 1958 aged 13 and surf club guys such as Harry Nightingale, Roth Bassingthwaite and Billy Douglas often poached swimmers to join. The Junior  R&R team, Australian Champions, had lost a swimmer to the seniors so they pencilled me in to join the Junior R &R.

What are your earliest members of the Club? Of being a member?
Well, this is funny. My first ever patrol, aged 13, I’ve mistakenly signed on with North Bondi patrol – Col Smee was the captain. When I realised my mistake, I asked to go to the toilet and went and found the Bondi patrol; was never sighted on North Bondi patrol again!

What official positions have you held in the Club?
I was club captain on two separate occasions, I was club president and club vice president, patrol captain, one of the first members to get advanced resuscitation, various social committees, fundraising committees  and, of course, Life Member in 1976. And many coaching positions.

Is there are a single highlight of your time in Bondi?
Wow, that’s tough – so many. Perhaps when then club captain Mark Fischer rang me up and told me he was going to nominate me as a Life Member. But so many great times. And my time with the R &R – two Australian titles as a competitor, 1960 and 1972. And three as coach. Thirty years of R&R I did.

And of course you’ve had some fame away from Bondi.
Well, I was the fifth Australian to swim The English Channel. Up to 5 years ago I was the oldest to do it – that’s been trumped but I’m still the oldest Australian to swim it. And the fastest over 70 to swim it. In 1985 I won the British Amateur 21-mile championship and broke the record at the age of 41. And recently I’ve returned to triathlons having given them up for a while after an ankle injury. But I competed when they first began and now I’m ranked in my age group in world rankings.

Who are some of the more memorable characters you’ve met in the Club?
Ha! Have you got a couple of hours? Basso, Harry Nightingale, so many older members, Billy Harris, Johnny O’Donovan. You see in those days it was all so different – Xmas cheer on the roof … so different!  You can’t leave Johnny Peard out as a character.

What challenges do you think face our Club in the future?
The major one is the need for more space. The way things are heading, we just need more space, more room. And the way the demographic of the beach is changing, we need to fundraise for more resources – drones and things – and we need the space to house them. We need a bigger Club.

Why would you encourage any young boy or girl to join Bondi?
We are the oldest club and besides that we spend so much time looking after young people in the Club in terms of welfare, their schooling, we have so many connections to help them. And we do so much community service. For example, doing patrols for clubs that are struggling –  Pacific Palms and Garie for example.

Thanks Cyril. Any final comments?
Just that we should be so proud of our history … it’s all there in the official book. And we are attracting so many people who are below middle-aged who want to contribute to the Club. It’s fantastic that we are attracting these professionals who are community leaders. We really are moving ahead and keeping up with the changes. The Club’s in great shape.

Patrol In Focus

Meagher’s Rose MacMahon; the Patrol Team; with Bronzies on shadow patrol; and Life Member on Patrol, Peter Stapleton.

Meagher Weathered a Perfect Storm

By Sean Murphy

Even on a mild spring morning as Meagher patrol prepared for its first foray of the season, Captain Damon Somerfield was expecting the unexpected.

“At Bondi no two days are the same,” he said.

“I mean, today is a classic. Look around, you have two bronze medallion groups training, you have about 60 ski paddlers about to paddle to Rose Bay at all levels.  The general public is flocking down. It’s busy, the water is fairly calm but the surf will turn in the next few hours.”

For this patrol, a swag of bronzies  had joined in, swelling numbers to a healthy 27. There was some good-natured banter as vice captains Phil Schacht and Mark Fabik assigned duties. Regular team members were obviously happy to see each other again after the long break. The afternoon began in an atmosphere of friendly, controlled confidence.

The  team’s Bristol born leader,  said Meagher’s members were encouraged to  assume greater responsibility wherever possible and an annual  camping trip to Coledale on the Illawarra coast had helped build camaraderie.

The patrol is named in honour of club legend, the late Tom Meagher, who helped save countless lives on the infamous Black Sunday in February 1938 when about 200 people were swept out to sea by a freak set of large waves.

Although not as dramatic, Meagher patrol had its own test of fire on Christmas Day last year when members performed more than 120 rescues.

Blue skies and a balmy 27 degrees had attracted a crowd of about 35,000 beachgoers with a building 1.5 metre swell and huge tides completing a perfect storm of dangerous conditions.

“It was a super low tide so the sand banks went for as far as you could see them,” Damon recalled. “You had people wading up to their knees and waist quite happily 100m out from the shoreline and suddenly the tide turns. We knew that was going to happen, but they’re all out on the sand bank standing quite happily and very safe. Then they move six foot to the left or to the right and suddenly they’re swimming and they can’t swim, so it’s one of those days where it all goes on basically.”

Meagher’s Christmas Day heroics were rewarded with the Sydney Branch Surf Life Saving Patrol of the Year award for 2018-19, but Damon modestly paid tribute to the many volunteers who joined his team on the day.

“Although we were patrolling and rostered, the reality of most holiday dates is that it’s a club patrol. Everyone pitches in because there are a lot of swaps. We had about four or five patrol captains come down that day and volunteer so the standard was really high,” he said.

The Christmas Day patrol was the most exciting yet for 24-year-old Rose MacMahon, who had joined Meagher two years earlier.

She’d slipped quietly away from her family’s Yuletide festivities to join her team mates for the afternoon patrol.

“I was on the southern outpost for most of the day so it meant a few challenging rescues,” she said.

“I think it was the first day that I’d felt really confident on my own doing a board rescue. We obviously always have support and people with us but I think it was just like you had to switch into this confident mode where we worked as a team and we were able to say when we needed help and we were able to just go for it.”

Rose is currently completing a Masters degree in architecture at the University of Technology Sydney and reckons being a volunteer lifesaver has given her more confidence in everyday life.

“It’s being part of a team, being active, being on the beach and kind of always being ready to help people, I love that.

“Those qualities flow through whenever I’m in a situation in public where I think, is this a time where I step forward or is this a time to let other people step forward? I think usually I would have been the bystander rather than active help.”

Meagher’s Patrol of the Year award also took into account its management of multiple critical incidents during the season including two resuscitations as well as the high number of awards and added qualifications undertaken by its members.

Club President Brent Jackson said this pursuit of excellence and higher skills was a common and positive trend across Bondi’s 14 patrol teams.

“I think many of our patrols have that standard of higher awards,” he said.

“I think a lot of the patrols are focussed on getting their higher awards levels up to the right point. Each patrol one day will be tested the way Meagher was on Christmas Day and I’m pretty confident all of the patrols would be able to do that. But Meagher has done it.”

This year Damon Somerfield is also serving on the board as Director of Lifesaving and has added Club Captain to his patrol leadership duties. He said Meagher’s award was the  proudest achievement of his five years as a Bondi surf lifesaver.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard on our education, on our awards, we’re humble, we socialise outside of the Club. I think the award to us just culminated where we’ve been going  for the last couple of years,” Damon said.

Meagher Patrol Team: Damon Somerfield PC, Philip Schacht VC, Mark Fabik VC, Paul Buckley-Schmidt IRBD, Daniel Rosado IRBC. Members: Rhiannon Hobbins, Rose MacMahon, Kristy McIntyre, Daniel Froggatt, Johno Bailey, Adrian Kendall, Jonathon Potts, Nicholas Capp, Neil Whittington-Davis, Allan Carr, Lucy Pendray, Caroline Smith, Callan Jones, Jack Vernan, Alexandra Schacht, Penelope Capp, Charles Burns, Alicia Vaughan, Francesca Heyko-Porebski, Morgan Bremmer, Milla Jarvis. Life Member on Patrol: Peter Stapleton.

Meagher is named after Tom Meagher O.B.E, who was said to have lived “for SLSA and what it stands for”. He is one of our great club legends, received many awards for bravery and was awarded Life Membership to Bondi SBLSC in 1932. Meagher was Chief Beach Inspector at Bondi on Black Sunday (6 February 1938). He saw service in the Pacific during World War II and established the Solomon Islands Surf Club in 1944 along with Carl Jeppeson. There were many SLSA Instructional Teams on which he served and in 1939 he represented Bondi in the SLSA of Australia March Past Team. In 1954 Tom Meagher was presented to HM Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Command Surf Carnival held on Bondi Beach. Tom held the position of President of Surf Life Saving NSW. He was a healthy man, who never drank or smoked,  a great leader who led by example.

What’s Been Happening at the Club

Airport Touch Down

The CEO of Sydney Airport Corporation Geoff Cuthbert was accompanied by SLS Sydney President Peter Agnew and Sydney Branch representatives on a visit to Bondi on 3 November 2019 to launch its largest commitment to surf lifesaving yet. Sydney Airport Corporation will provide new funding for lifesaving resources across every Sydney club along with in-terminal public safety promotions. The group visited the Ormsby patrol tent on Sunday morning, was met by nippers lime caps who performed their best imitations of planes and given a CPR demonstration by our SRCs.

Sydney Airport Corporation have partnered with Surf Lifesaving for 18 years. This year that includes the Centenary Runway Run which is being held this Saturday 23 November. Winners of the Club Race Club vs Club Patrol Race on the day – four-person teams running the 500m course – receive a $1,000 gear and equipment grant for their Club. All funds raised on the day and during a two-month Christmas appeal in both terminals go to Surf Life Saving Sydney.

Beach to Bay

Bondi SBLSC once again hosted the Bondi To Rose Bay Ocean Race on 26 October 2019.  Numbers were down on previous years due to very challenging conditions and a packed race calendar, with a race finishing at North Bondi the week before. All proceeds from this race went to Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club.

Congratulations to all the paddlers that finished the race and especially to the category winners and place getters. Tommy Woodriff was the Men’s overall and Over 40 winner. This is the third time he has won this event. Fiona Tschaut won the Open Women’s division.

I would like to thank Alex Ayscough and her IRB team for their huge effort in getting five boats and crews in the water for the race. Without them we could not run events like this. They did a number of rescues and all paddlers made it home safely due to their efforts. Thanks also to Jeremy Spear, Dori Miller and Calvin Brodie for their help with the entry, registration and race approvals.

A final thank you goes to all the sponsors who provided time and support to make this race a success. They include Shark Island Paddlers, Sydney Harbour Surf Club, BOS Ocean Sport, DD3 Surf Skis, Bennett Paddles, Sydney Harbour Seaplanes, Viakobi, Rushcutters Bay Paddle Sports, Woollahra Sailing Club and Think Surf Skis.

The race finished at Rose Bay and with the presentation being held at Woollahra Sailing Club. All paddlers enjoyed a meal and a drink at the sailing club café before the presentation kicked off at 12:30pm.

Tent Inventor Visits

On 27 October we had a Polish visitor to the club,  Mark Krawczynski. He lived in Bondi from the 1950s to ’70s after his family escaped post war Poland and was an architect on the Opera House construction. This gave him the inspiration to design the Beach Patrol Shade (initially named the Opera Shade).

Mark is the president of the Warsaw Rotary Club and has presented diplomatic welcomes to the Australian teams at ILS World Life Saving Championships at Livorno/Viareggio, Italy 2004 and Berlin/Warnemünde, Germany 2008.

As Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club is one of the longest continuous customers of the patrol shade (first used in 2004), he was happy to see the team in action and hear of the use of the tent on the beach. He also liked the sandbags used by the Club, created by our Gear Steward in 2004-05 season to avoid using pegs.

Sculptures From the Sea

There were plenty of visitors along the coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama during late October and early November for what threatens to be Sculptures by the Sea’s penultimate year in Bondi. So Yellow Boards trainers found a novel way to avoid the crowds with Sculptures from the Sea.

Early morning sessions started with ins and outs before the the group paddled across to Icebergs then hugged the coastline to check out some of the sculptures on the cliffs leading to Marks Park.

If you’re keen to increase your paddle fitness and skills or work towards moving to competition boards and enjoy some amazing sunrises over Bondi meet Rex, Blake and Pottsy at the gear shed at 6am every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Have a Heart

Heart Cafe Bondi Beach has set up out the front of the Club, serving coffee on weekends from 6am. You can even let them know when you’ll be back, go for a swim or paddle and they’ll have your coffee ready when you get out!

The “coffee cart” is an outpost of the cafe which opened on Roscoe Street late last year. It’s part of Wayside Chapel’s Wingspan Project, a social enterprise that works with disadvantaged young people, giving them skills, supporting them into paid hospitality traineeships and helping them break the cycle of unemployment.

Come on down and create community together. The cafe’s  hours are Saturday and Sunday mornings for now and looking to be 7 days a week over summer.

Money raised goes to the Club and Wayside’s Wingspan Project.

A Little Help for Our Friends

Bondi SBLSC has a history and fondness for patrolling at Garie Beach, however recently this fondness became necessity. For the past couple of seasons, clubs across Sydney Branch have patrolled Garie Beach on Saturdays to support Garie SLSC’s diminishing membership. This season, they only had 25 Bronze Medallion holders sign up for their Sunday patrols.

For the past two seasons Bondi have patrolled at Garie on four weekends and the same will happen this year. On 9 November, a team of 11 led by Director of Lifesaving and Meagher Patrol Captain Damon Somerfield travelled to Garie Beach for our first Garie patrol of the Season.

Will Mitchell came back a big fan of destination patrols with a report for the Surfer:

Patrolling Garie Beach in the Royal National Park is loads of fun. Those that could nick off early on Friday arvo got a swim/paddle in and took care of the essentials ie cleaning the fusbol table and getting beers in the fridge!

We ate in style on Friday night – steak, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto – then gave the fusbol table a solid workout. The Europeans dominated and the banter was plentiful!

The Saturday morning early birds, aka Denise’s running squad, ran 8km along the cliff tops while the sane folks snoozed it up before making brekky. Bacon and egg rolls with avocado and cheese got us going and, after warming up by kicking the footy and throwing the frisbee, we set up for patrol duties.

It was a wild windy day [the beach was closed] so no swimmers, only a few surfers plus an awesome group of bronzies from Western Sydney! They’ve been training in their local pool during the week then travelling to Garie on the weekend.

The Garie Vanguard are a really committed group of Bronzies and SRCs. The travel they are doing during their course is huge. They’re also a really multicultural group, which is awesome. They worked well together during dry and wet spinals in nasty conditions and look like a tight group. It’s great that they are training at a club that really needs new blood.

Garie is such a beautiful spot. Whether an overnight stay or a day trip, it’s a great way to support a surf club going through a low membership phase and have a tonne of fun with some Bondi mates.  Highly recommend a patrol day at Garie. The only suggestion I’d make is staying an extra night and organising a bushwalk on the Sunday. Yeah nature …

“This is what destination patrols are all about – having an awesome time away with other clubbies, keeping fit, having fun, exploring other beaches and keeping them safe,” said Destination Patrol Captain Felicity McArthur.

Bondi members who travelled to Garie on 9 November are: Damon Somerfield, Kristy McIntyre, Mark Fabik, Pablo (Paul) Schmidt, Edd Oakden, Phil Schacht, Neil Collins (and his moustache), Will Mitchell, Denise Meuldijk, Joseph Couzens and Thomas Wetula.

Garie on the Front Foot

Those Garie Vanguard Bronzies Will refers to in his Garie Patrol report are part of another initiative being run by the Club to boost it’s dwindling numbers with the help of trainers from Bondi Surf Club.

Garie Vanguard is a volunteer-led, grass roots community initiative being driven by the Club’s Bondi-trained Recruitment Director, Bec Herron-Dowling.  They’re enlisting people from Western Sydney, who are the main users of their beach, to become their next lifesavers and training them in the pool at Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre and on the beach at Garie.

There are currently 13 Western Sydney trainees doing their Bronze Medallion and Surf Rescue Certificate through the programme. They’ll complete their Part A and B exams in December. Kristy, Mark, Denise, Neil, Joe and Damon from Bondi, and Bec and Brett from Garie covered signals, patrols, IRB familiarisation, sand running, CPR, dry and wet spinals, porpoising and a “run-porpoise-run” with them on the weekend. The session was a great success with positive reports and thanks received from the Garie Vanguard members and Garie Surf Life Saving Club.

Garie sent a special shout out to Kristy: “Our candidates were captivated by her and she rated a number of ‘gee, she’s good!’ mentions from seasoned Garie surf lifesavers. Needless to say they were impressed – a credit to Kristy and Team Bondi.”


Doing the Blue & White Proud

Bondi Nippers hosted the 2019 Waverley Shield Carnival on Sunday 17 November.

This annual carnival brings our four local Nipper clubs – North Bondi, Tamarama Bronte and Bondi – together for a fun day of friendly competition to kick off the carnival season.

The weather on Sunday was very unpredictable and the water events were cut short at the end of the day, but our Nippers wore the Blue & White and proudly represented Bondi with some great results.

With a tally of 285 points including four gold, 18 silver and 14 bronze, we medalled well despite the cancellation of some preferred events in some age groups. There were highlights in every age group in the water and on the sand. These results show an improvement on previous years and show our competition team is slowly building and improving their skills in their events.

Special thanks to our Junior Coach, Laura Thurtell who has worked with our Nippers to improve their skills and confidence in the water and our Age Managers who contribute weekly to the development of our “Life Savers in training”.

Overall, every Nipper who participated should be proud of themselves. You displayed good sportsmanship, tenacity and determination and, most of all, participated with pride.

Surf Sports

And They’re Off and Racing

The surf carnival season kicked off this month for the Masters at Freshwater on 9 November, then the short course at Cronulla the following weekend.

If you’re interested in competing, make sure you’re signed up to the Bondi Surf Club Training Squad Facebook group where you’ll get all the information on training, events and carnivals.

Clubbie Classic 2019

It’s on again, the 3rd Annual Clubbie Classic, Sunday 8 December 2019.

This is a fun event, free for all members and a great introduction for anyone thinking of competing for the Club at some stage.

The board events include sprint race, relay, M shape course, and the crowd favourite – judged style riding event.

Come down at 7am for a 7:30am start, grab your free limited edition Clubbie Classic T-shirt and a sausage sizzle and have some fun.

Training Calendar

There’s Club training – ski, boards, swim, sprint, pilates – every day of the weekend. Download the training schedule here and get down to the beach.


Trivia Night

The trivia night was a great success with 80 people battling it out for the prize of dinner for six. The Where’s Wally had most people stumped and a nail-biting tie breaker saw Lifesavers with Benefits taking home first prize and The Better Hoff coming in second place .

Thank you to Surly’s American Tavern for donating first prize!

Christmas Party

Bondi Surf Bathers Lifesaving Club invites its members and guests to the Christmas Party!

Time and date: 6pm Saturday 21 December 2019
Place: Main Hall
Tickets: $20 Members, $25 Non members, $15 Students, $50 Family (2 Adults and 2 Kids)

Join us for a night of food and fun. Families welcome. Visit the Event Facebook page for more information.

Volunteers needed for set up/pack up and running of the event, please contact Social Secretary Anna Darby if you can help out.

Upcoming Events

Beach Tech 4

Saturday 7 December – 3:30pm
Main Hall, Bondi Surf Club
Eight lifesavers presenting their work in the start up/tech industry. Contact James Stewart if you would like to present.

Inter Surf Club Bar Hop

Sunday 8 December from midday
Coogee, Clovelly, Bronte, Tamarama, Bondi and North Bondi Surf Club bars
Starting at Coogee join us for a stroll along the Coastal Walk stopping in at Surf Clubs along the way. Cash bar at each club. Join in or drop out at any time. Visit the event Facebook page for more information.


And, of course, Bottles every Sunday from 5pm in the Blue Room. This week Club Chaplain Marty Nezval will be hosting the second of a series of five “Let’s Talk” community mental heath talks with Blake Hatton his special guest. Check Surfer Briefs each week for special events and presentations.

Anyone wishing to help with social events is encouraged to contact Anna Darby.

Surf Race

Memorial Events Calendar

This weekend (Sunday 24 November) is the Ron Turner Memorial Event Round 1. Come down and join us on the beach from 10:30am.

The season’s remaining Memorial Event dates are:

  • Mick Shearman Round 1 – 15 December 2019
  • Jack Cox Round 2 – 2 February 2020
  • Ron Turner Round 2 – 9 February 2020
  • Mick Shearman Round 2 – 22 March 2020
  • Jack Cox Round 3 – 29 March 2020

Race Report – Week 8 – 17 November

Fellow Clubbies,

A great morning, with a couple of heavy waves coming though, with strong rips and a northerly sweep that was pumping and making things very interesting.  The Patrol under Janet with her Presidential Ducky driver, set a very interesting course with the southerly buoy placed at the head of a rip and the northerly buoy another hundred yards plus further out to sea. We swam south to north to take advantage of the rip and avoid the Nippers’ Waverley Shield Carnival that was in full swing.

A quick note on the previous week.  We quite often get a close race, however, in 50-plus seasons, I do not recall  two closer races on the same morning. It was worth the admission to just watch the jostling up the beach and on the finish line, where no quarter was given in the race for honours.

B Grade saw half the competitors head towards the rocks at North Bondi, as they cut through the Nipper water area without being able to put the breaks on.  Those who swam south made the buoy and charged back to the beach with Annabelle showing a lot of skill to beat out back marker Veronica who has made a real impact this season. Rounding out out the podium was Amy, another back marker, who continues to improve each week.

A Grade was a chaotic race, with three time triallers starting off low handicaps and, in the case of Cuba, coming in ahead of the next finisher, another time trialler Damian, by a good 90 seconds. Needless to say their handicaps have been adjusted to reflect their abilities. To complicate the matter further we had a B Grader next, followed by the eventual winner Jessie then came Bruce, with three ladies closely following.  Unfortunately we have been unable to discover who got third. If it was you, please advise.

With a heavy sea, we had five starters who were willing to compete in the Tube Race, with Courtney just beating out Jessie and Anthony a close third.  While many looked at the sea and headed for the showers, Veronica and Laszlo put up their hands and completed the field and have said they will be back trying again next week, which is what we are all about.

Next week is the first round of the Ron Turner, so come down and try your hand or just watch and cheer your fellow members as they participate in this great tradition which, with your help, will continue to be an integral part of our surf culture that assists in making us better lifesavers.


A Grade Handicap
1st Jesse Lockhart 1.55
2nd Bruce Campbell 0.05
Number of starters 25

B Grade
1st Annabelle Marcot 1.20
2nd Veronica Fernandez 3.00
3rd Amy Cartwright 2.55
Number of starters 11

Tube Races
1st Courtney Date
2nd Jesse Lockhart
3rd Anthony Williams
Number of starters 5

Total number of starters 42

Surf Race Images – Week 7 – 10 November

Surf Race Images – Week 5 – 27 October

Bondi Amateur Swimming Club

BASC is in 127th season and has races from 25m to 400m from 9am each Saturday morning. This includes form strokes and is spread over a two-week cycle.  Attending will certainly sharpen your times and will improve your surf race abilities. This week we finish with a 400m dash. We have free learn to swim classes for members from November and we provide some stroke correction to members as well.  If you have any queries re same, please speak to me or the Hallams for further information.

Member Benefits

Featherdale Wildlife Park is offering lifesavers free entry during November as part of their Local Heroes month sying thanks to those who do incredible work in the community. Your guests will received reduced pricing ($25 for adults and $15 for children aged 3 to 15). You’ll need to provide them with proof that you’re a patrolling member.

For other great Clubbie discounts, look out for the Bondi sticker at friendly local businesses!

Clubbie Discount participating businesses post this sticker

Don’t forget to check out the Member Benefits poster in the Club to discover new businesses supporting us.

Bondi Surfer No. 97
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