Queensland winners at SLSA Awards of Excellence

November 6, 2023

The 2023 Surf Life Saving Australia Awards of Excellence were held in Sydney on Saturday with a number of Queensland surf lifesavers honoured at the event.

Gary Williams from Ellis Beach SLSC was awarded the Trainer of the Year Award for the work he has put in to not only his club, but the wider community.

Gary excelled in developing strong relationships with local Indigenous youth through the Clontarf Foundation, where he organised live-in training camps and motivated participants to achieve their Bronze Medallion qualifications. This initiative boosted the confidence and employability of participants and forged a collaborative bond with Clontarf.

Furthermore, Gary’s initiation of IRB Driver and Crew courses addressed a deficiency in training by promoting common standards and improving relationships among trainers. This led to participants enrolling in advanced courses, expanding their skills outside the typical season. His commitment to safety education for local primary school groups also ensured community safety and bolstered community relations.

Gary’s availability and willingness to travel for training underscored his dedication to making Surf Life Saving training accessible and effective.


Currumbin’s John Brennan OAM was named Surf Sport Official of the Year for 2023.

As an experienced and highly knowledgeable official, he continues to dedicate his time and expertise to mentoring aspiring officials, offering guidance and sharing his wealth of knowledge and understanding of all things relevant to the official’s world. By serving as an Officials Mentor at various carnivals such as the Point Danger Branch Youth Championships and U8-U10 Junior Carnival and various other carnivals, John has actively contributed to the growth and skill enhancement of officials at these levels.

In addition to his mentoring efforts, John has gone above and beyond by providing training and education opportunities for officials. He has facilitated two Level 1 Officials Courses enabling new officials to gain a solid foundation in core officiating skills and knowledge.


Currumbin also scored the Surf Sport Team of the Year Award which was handed to the Currumbin Hunters female surf boat crew.

At the 2023 Australian Championships, they secured gold in the Open Female Surf Boat category and silver in the Open Mixed Lifesaver Relay. Their success continued at the 2023 Queensland Championships, where they claimed gold and silver in the same events.

Additionally, they ranked fourth in the ASRL Open Female division. The group, all mothers, proved that they could excel not only in rowing, but also in balancing motherhood and being positive role models for women. They volunteered over 79 hours of patrolling and collectively amassed 1,000 career patrolling hours, receiving 101 awards.

Their dedication extended beyond competitions, as they undertook immense logistical challenges, traveling over 24,800km to various carnivals. This included multiple trips to Sydney, a tour of New Zealand, a journey to Perth for the Aussies, and two trips to the Sunshine Coast. Despite the logistical complexity, the team ensured smooth operations and a successful season, showcasing their commitment and ability to overcome challenges.