Surfie relishes fun event with serious purpose
Invercargill beachgoers will be in safe hands this summer with a championship surf life saver on patrol at Oreti Beach.
Oreti Surf Life Saving Club member Simon Cook, 23, took home a third place after competing in the Surf Life Saving State New Zealand Pool Championships in Wellington last weekend.
Mr Cook, who is studying commerce at the University of Otago, has entered the annual competition five times before, last year picking up first place.
Although he did not repeat last year's victory, he said was pleased with his results.
"The time was still pretty solid [considering] the championship record was broken and stuff."
He won his third place in the 50m free with fins event, a race which involved jumping in the water wearing flippers and "swimming as fast as you can".
He also gained an 8th placing in the 100m manikin tow with fins event, but he "bombed out the back" in the 200m obstacle race.
Now in their 10th year, the championship events were not too different from saving people in the water, he said.
"They're designed to simulate what we do at the beach . . . the skills are similar [but] there is no waves or wind or sun or things like that."
However, as much as he enjoyed the sport, he said he was involved in surf life saving for one main reason - to save people from drowning.
"For me, the sport side comes second to the actual life saving side."
Mr Cook has high hopes for New Zealand's southernmost surf life saving club in next year's championships.
"Hopefully, next year we can get some more members from the club there. We've got some young talent coming through so hopefully we can drag them along.
"It's a fun event, really."
- © Fairfax NZ News