Meet the Entrants
2018 Summer Surf Girls
The Summer Surf Girl program is first and foremost a member development program, which seeks to engage female members within surf life saving and to develop their skills and experience for their future careers within and outside the movement.
The Summer Surf Girl program has now injected more than $15.8 million into surf life saving clubs throughout Queensland since the program’s inception in 1964.
All funds raised are distributed back into participating clubs to be used in a variety of ways, such as the maintenance and purchase of new rescue equipment, surf safety education, member development, increasing volunteer memberships and expanding training programs.
The program continues to grow and in 2018 we have 11 entrants from as far north as Townsville right down to Currumbin.
Tickets are now on sale for the Summer Surf Girl Gala Ball! Click here to purchase tickets.
MEET THE ENTRANTS
Ashlee Aguirre – Ayr SLSC
Surf lifesaving runs in Ashlee’s blood. With a number of family members involved at Ayr SLSC, she first joined the ranks as a green cap nipper some 18 years ago. Now 22, Ashlee is a Patrol Captain and balances her weekends between volunteering and working as a casual lifeguard for North Barrier Branch. She is also a keen beach sprinter and surf boat rower. Ashlee is currently in her third year of studying Exercise Physiology at James Cook University, and is working towards obtaining her Gold Medallion. She is proud to be Ayr SLSC’s 37th Summer Surf Girl entrant since the program began in 1964.
“We have a tradition that our club must have a Surf Girl as we come from a small rural community with minimum exposure. Each year the Surf Girl gets her photo on a wall in the clubhouse. I have walked past it since I was a nipper and thought how one day that will be me up there,” Ashlee said.
“Ayr Surf Club relies solely on the fundraising from the Summer Surf girl to ensure we can have the latest equipment. So if I can be the person that helps raise money needed for a volunteer community it brings me so much more happiness knowing I did something that mattered.”
Ashlee Keen – Townsville Picnic Bay SLSC
Ashlee joined the Surf Life Saving movement a little later than most, becoming a member of Townsville Picnic Bay SLSC in 2015. This certainly hasn’t held her back, with Ashlee throwing herself into the red and yellow community and holding a number of positions at the club, including Patrol Captain, Age Manager, Club Photographer and JAC Secretary. She also competes at state and national level in R&R, and is working towards completing her Gold Medallion and becoming an IRB Driver this season. Ashlee obtained her Bachelor of Business majoring in Sports and Events Management and Marketing from James Cook University, and works as a swim teacher and also for her family’s business.
“Since joining Townsville Picnic Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, I have felt a part of a family and being their Summer Surf Girl meant that I could represent them and give back to my extended family,” Ashlee said.
“We are a small club that relies heavily on members and fundraising to keep both of our island and mainland club operational. I am very proud to be representing Townsville Picnic Bay.”
Britt Brymer – Currumbin SLSC
Originally joining Yeppoon SLSC with her family as a nipper in 2001, Britt made the move to Currumbin in 2015 where she is now a Patrol Captain and sits on the Surf Sports Committee. A keen beach athlete, Britt has won gold at Worlds and Aussies and recently came second at the Surf Life Saving Queensland state titles. She works as a community physiotherapist.
“I have always been inspired by the girls who have completed the program. They speak highly of what they have gained personally and professionally from their year. I haven’t seen any athletes complete the program while still maintaining an intense training and racing schedule, so I saw it as a further challenge,” Britt said.
“My late grandfather (Brian Brymer) is a Life Member of Point Danger Branch and won multiple Australian Titles in R&R. The more I immerse myself in the lifesaving community, the more I learn he was a legend and I’m very proud to be involved and to continue his lifesaving legacy.”
Caitlin Maskey – Eimeo SLSC
The first in her family to become a surf lifesaver, Caitlin joined as a nipper with her best friend in under-8s and went on to complete her Bronze Medallion, now patrolling at Eimeo SLSC. She is now working towards becoming an IRB driver and crewie, and was recently part of the first ever surf boat team to finish the 404km Massive Murray Paddle. Caitlin has a Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate) and Certificate III in Business and Administration, and currently works as a Field Services Coordinator.
“We have a large age gap of members, most being nippers or their parents and not many in between; I am the only person in the correct age range to be able to participate in this program in four years,” Caitlin said.
“Younger members have seen my journey and are enquiring when they can become Summer Surf Girl, so I am hoping my participation will encourage these members to pursue and maintain their careers and general involvement in lifesaving. As these girls have grown up in Eimeo and surrounds they have a larger network of friends who will see their journey and be encouraged and empowered to join the movement and the club will grow from there.”
Chloe McGrath – Coochiemudlo Island SLSC
As only the second ever Summer Surf Girl entrant from Coochiemudlo Island SLSC, Chloe McGrath has been a member of the club for almost ten years and is Deputy Junior Activities Coordinator and Age Manager. With both her Bronze and Silver Medallions, Chloe is also an IRB Crewie and has competed at national level in first aid. Over the years she has transitioned from volunteer surf lifesaver to also become a professional lifeguard at South Bank, Community Awareness presenter, and learn to swim instructor. Chloe is soon returning to university to study a Bachelor of Primary Teaching at Australian Catholic University.
“Surf lifesaving gives you lifelong skills, friends and family inside your club and outside, and the opportunities are limitless – it’s an opportunity to be a part of something that is bigger than who you are yourself,” Chloe said.
“Coochie might not be the place where we do constant rescues or preventative actions, but when things go wrong they go very wrong. We are the first place people come to as there are no other emergency services based on the island.”
Deborah Keioskie – Mackay SLSC
Our youngest entrant this year, Deborah joined Mackay SLSC with her mum in 2011 when she was 11 years old, working her way through the ranks to gain her Bronze Medallion and become an IRB Crewie. She is a now keen IRB racer, representing Mackay at North Aussies and States. Deb graduated high school last year and commenced her Bachelor of Architecture at Griffith University on the Gold Coast this year.
“Each time we have a Summer Surf Girl we raise money which keeps our club afloat or it may have to close its doors. I feel I can do something for my club before moving away to university,” Deb said.
“Nothing gives me the satisfaction and excitement as lifesaving does. I have made so many friends and collected many skills and qualifications along the way. It feels good to belong to a club that isn’t just about winning or competing; it’s about the community and friendship and to help others. Lifesaving isn’t about you, it’s about helping others and enjoying what you do along the way.”
Jessica Simpson – Dicky Beach SLSC
She may share names with an international pop star, but we think Jess is a shining star in her own right. Joining Dicky Beach SLSC wither her family as a nipper in 2005, Jess has gone on to obtain a total of some 73 awards, has notched up almost 700 patrol hours, and is working towards her Gold Medallion. She currently serves in the role of Club Captain and also heads up a patrol group. Jess is involved in a number of surf sports, her favourite being IRB racing, and has also participated in a number of state and national youth development programs. She currently works as a family law legal secretary.
“Dicky Beach SLSC and Surf Life Saving Queensland have provided me with so many wonderful opportunities and I would like the chance to give back to my surf club and the organisation. The Summer Surf Girl program is an extraordinary experience for personal growth and provides an opportunity to educate the community about the lifesaving movement, which I am so very passionate about,” Jess said.
“The fact that all funds raised come directly back to Dicky Beach SLSC to provide training, education, rescue and competition equipment is a major motivator for the members and for me. I have seen the personal growth and development that girls previously involved in the program have experienced, and believe that the challenge to get the very best out of the program will bring out the best in me and develop my self confidence.”
Nicole Lowe – Tannum Sands SLSC
As member of Tannum Sands SLSC for a quarter of a century, Nicole and her family have a strong involvement and history with the club. Her grandfather established the club’s Nippers program almost 50 years ago, and now Nicole is giving back too in a bid to become Tannum’s first ever Summer Surf Girl winner. Over the years, Nicole has obtained a total of 60 surf lifesaving awards and is approaching 1000 career patrol hours. She has lifeguarded at a number of Bundaberg beaches, and currently works as a legal secretary.
“Tannum Sands Surf Life Saving Club, together with SLSQ, has given me so many great experiences throughout my life and I want to be able to give something back to them as a way of saying thank you. I would also love to show the public, as an ambassador for SLSQ, the great work our movement does,” Nicole said.
“It was spoken about at the Summer Surf Girl workshop weekend that ‘leaders never reach their final destination’ and I believe that by doing Summer Surf Girl I am expanding and learning new skills to be a leader in my own journey, a journey that I hope my grandfather would be proud of and a journey that I can then take other girls and the little green caps through as they grow and start their own paths.”
Nikki Chapman – Maroochydore SLSC
Entrenched in surf lifesaving since she was just four years old, Nikki is proud to represent Maroochydore SLSC where she currently serves as Deputy of Lifesaving and Swim Captain. She is a proud surf sports athlete and has won medals for Australia, and recently travelled to Japan to visit her sister club (Shimoda) on a patrol exchange. Nikki is studying a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at University of the Sunshine Coast.
“I had to have major surgery on my hip in January 2016 and I wasn’t able to train or compete, so when a member of my club approached me about the Summer Surf Girl program I jumped at the opportunity to contribute back to a club who has been so supportive of me, not only in regards to surf life saving but also through a pretty dark period when I lost my dad to cancer,” Nikki said.
“I never really appreciated what it took to sustain our surf clubs and this program has opened my eyes into the funding that is required and also to the hours that people put in to keep the club running, purely out of the goodness of their hearts. I believe it is important not only for myself to continue to be involved but also to encourage the youth of our club to continue this on.”
Olivia Blight – Noosa Heads SLSC
The first in her family to join surf lifesaving, Olivia’s parents enrolled her in Nippers when they moved to the Sunshine Coast from rural NSW in 2006 as a way for her to make new friends and know how to stay safe in the surf. Luckily Olivia took to it like a fish to water, and is now a Patrol Captain at Noosa Heads SLSC and working towards becoming an RWC Operator. Olivia is in her final year of her Bachelor of Medical Engineering at Queensland University of Technology, and is also a sessional academic while interning in clinical orthopaedic instrumentation design.
“My club president is fanatical about Summer Surf Girl and he was delighted when I became the first Summer Surf Girl at Noosa in 18 years. I believe the club needed an ambassador for the youth of the club, not just the surf sport competitors, and so I was extremely keen on entering,” Olivia said.
“I also have worked in lifeguarding at pools, and there is a large gap of surf knowledge in Brisbane. This motivated me to become a Summer Surf Girl, so that I could raise awareness of lifesaving away from the coast, so that travellers to our beaches can be safe in the water too.”
Samantha Lavery – Point Lookout SLSC
Since joining Point Lookout SLSC last season, Sam has certainly thrown herself into surf lifesaving and has since obtained her Bronze and Silver Medallions, IRB Crew Certificate and Advanced Resuscitation. She is working towards her Gold Medallion and hopes to become involved in IRB racing this season. Sam works as a teacher and holds a Bachelor of Primary Education (Primary – Health and Physical Education).
“I was in need of a change in my life – a new group of people and a new challenge that would keep me active and learning. It wasn’t until the passing of my Grandpa (an original member of Point Lookout SLSC in 1952) that made me think about lifesaving at all. I was incredibly close to him and when I was over at his house I saw his Bronze Medallion hanging on the wall. I reminisced about the stories he told and pulled out all his old photos of the shed on the Point,” Sam said.
“The next day I spoke with another young member, and she told me what the club had done for her and how there was a Bronze course starting that weekend. I knew then that was meant to be and what I was going to do. Grandpa is my drive and inspiration. He said it was one of the best decisions he ever made, and I can honestly say it has been mine.”