Opunake surf lifesaver named lifeguard of the year

Opunake Surf Lifesaving Club won best rescue of the year at the Taranaki Awards of Excellence in New Plymouth.
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Opunake Surf Lifesaving Club won best rescue of the year at the Taranaki Awards of Excellence in New Plymouth.

Michael Corkill was named Lifeguard of the Year at the Taranaki Surf Lifesaving Awards of Excellence, and said he found the honour "quite humbling".

The awards were presented on Saturday night at the Devon hotel in New Plymouth to honour local club members for all their hard work and dedication to saving lives over the past season.

But it wasn't just a good night for Corkill but also his club, Opunake, as well. It picked up gongs for Rescue of the Year and also Club of the Year for the second year running. 

Michael Corkill is a Lifeguard, Lifeguard Coordinator, Club Captain, Powercraft Officer and Head Instructor at Opunake ...
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Michael Corkill is a Lifeguard, Lifeguard Coordinator, Club Captain, Powercraft Officer and Head Instructor at Opunake Surf Lifesaving club.

"It was quite humbling to be recognised, not just by the Opunake club but in Taranaki as well," Corkill said.

The Surf Life Saving Clubs in Taranaki include Fitzroy, East End, New Plymouth Old Boys and Opunake.

The lifeguard of the year award is aimed at recognising a member who has made an outstanding contribution to the delivery and development of drowning prevention services.

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"I've put a lot of time in helping out in the club where I could so to win the this award was really nice," said Corkill.

He started out in the sport when his friends became involved in the junior surf programme.

He has gradually climbed the ranks to not just become a lifeguard but also the Opunake club's lifeguard coordinator, captain, powercraft officer and head instructor as well.

The most rewarding part of his role was watching people come up the ranks, he said.

"Just watching people grow and develop, seeing them transition from a 14 year old into an adult is really amazing.

"Then at 17 or 18 taking some real responsibility and looking after people on the beach."

Corkill completed 88 recorded patrolling hours throughout the season and averaged 20 hours per week of voluntary non-patrol hours.

He also works full-time as a sparky at his parents' business in Opunake.

"I'm really lucky they're so flexible with work and just really fortunate for all their support."

But his sporting talents aren't just all on the beach. He also plays hockey for Te Kiri and plays competitive paintball, which can often take him around New Zealand.

Asked if he would be able to choose between paintball of surf lifesaving, Corkill said there was no easy answer. 

"That's a tough one but the surf lifesaving would win, as it has before."

Other award winners:

  • Lifeguard of the Year: Michael Corkill, Opunake
  • Volunteer of the Year: Darren James, Fitzroy

 

  • Rescue of the Year: Opunake - Taine Morgan, Jordan Hooper and Brook Smith
  • Club of the Year: Opunake Surf Life Saving Club
  • Patrol Club of the Year: East End Surf Life Saving Club
  • Innovation of the Year: New Plymouth Old Boys Café (NPOB Executive Committee)
  • Michael Taylor Award: Dean Spicer, New Plymouth Old Boys
  • U19 Sportswoman of the Year: Claudia Kelly, East End
  • Sportswoman of the Year: Claudia Kelly, East End
  • U19 Sportsman of the Year: Zac Reid, Fitzroy
  • Sportsman of the Year: Javon McCallum, Fitzroy
  • Sportsperson of the year: Zac Reid, Fitzroy
  • U19 Sports Team of the Year: Taranaki Youth Representative Team
  • Sports Team of Year: New Plymouth Old Boys U21 IRB Crew

 

  • Coach of the Year: Joel Meuli, East End
  • Official of the Year: Brian Velvin, Fitzroy
  • Instructor of the Year: Todd Cations-Velvin, Fitzroy
  • Taranaki Service Awards: Darren James, Fitzroy; Wendy Clough, Fitzroy

 - Stuff

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