# 14 | SUMMER 2019
Australian Lifeguard Magazine
RECOGNISING THE LONG SERVING LIFEGUARD
SUMMER WRAP UP WHAT THE ELITE EAT
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
FROM THE EDITOR Happy end of Summer everyone! Whether you are new to the sandy office or have been around since before the Cereal Wars (1989-1994), we thank you for your service. The work you do is not always easy, and Lifeguard is just one method of recognising individuals and initiatives that are making a difference. We have spoken with long-standing lifeguards about how they got started and what keeps them in the game. We also asked you about the current and emerging issues on our beaches, report on some unique rescues and techniques, and hear about opportunities beyond our shores for the adventurous at heart. This year we wanted to continue the conversations around health, wellbeing and team morale. The lifeguard lifestyle can be intense in a number of capacities, so we asked the experts for tips on keeping the mind and body healthy all year round. Lifeguard is an industry-wide magazine and canâ€™t happen without the great stories and events that are shared. If you have something in mind that you would like to see featured, or know someone that deserves to be recognised, please get in touch. We hope you enjoy some well-deserved respite after summer and look forward to seeing you on the beach again soon!
Surf Life Saving Australia PO Box 7773, Bondi Beach NSW 2026 Phone: (02) 9215 8000 Email: email@example.com
April Ryan, Keiran Stone
Michael Daley, InterExchange, Lisa Sainsbury (BoM), Cameron Pyett (Sutherland Shire Council Ocean Safety and Lifeguards), Jordan White, Eveline Rijksen, Jacob Rugless, Murray Copas, Kiteboarding Australia, Jorden Merrilees (Sports Medicine Australia), Cancer Council Australia, Bonnie Hancock, Anelia Mintcheva, Keiran Stone, SLS NSW, SLS QLD, Life Saving Victoria.
SLS QLD, Shutterstock, SLS NSW, Bureau of Meteorology, John Veage, Herald Sun, Life Saving Victoria, Sutherland Shire Council Ocean Safety and Lifeguards, 123RF, Jacob Rugless, Eveline Rijksen, SLSA, Anika Martin, Tibor Van Mass. April Ryan Editor
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04. LONG SERVICE –
35. 2018 NATIONAL COASTAL
09. FIVE MINUTES WITH: JORDAN WHITE
40. DHL LIFEGUARD OF THE YEAR
10. SUMMER WRAP UP
42. RESCUE RECOGNITION
22. STRAIGHT FROM THE
44. EXERCISE AS THERAPY
WHAT’S THE SECRET?
27. CHALLENGING COMMUNITY ISSUES 30. GONE CAMPIN’ 32. LET’S GO FLY A KITE
(AND SAVE IT FROM SOARING)
SAFETY REPORT EXCERPT
46. WHAT THE ELITE EAT AND HOW WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM
49. CHECKING YOURSELF OUT? THAT’S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF!
51. EXERCISE AND MEDITATION
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WHATâ€™S THE SECRET? Defining long service can be difficult, particularly in a physical occupation such as lifeguarding. Whether it is 10 years or 30 years, there are experiences and stories to be shared. In this issue we asked some long-standing lifeguards about their time on the beach, what keeps them working and how lifeguarding has supported other opportunities.
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RECOGNISING LONG SERVING LIFEGUARD
We interviewed the veteran Queensland lifeguard to find out what keeps him in the industry and what he’s learned along the way. What is your age and location? I’m currently 45, turning 46 later this year and work full time at Coolum Beach. How long have you been lifeguarding, and will you keep going? I have been working as a lifeguard now for 28 years and I intend to keep lifeguarding for as long as I can... that is until I can’t meet the fitness requirements and/or until I no longer enjoy the job (no time soon I hope!). When and where did you first lifeguard? I started as a casual with Maroochy Shire Council in 1991 (I was 17 at the time) and worked on all beaches in the Shire. But Coolum was always my home beach and where I was appointed full time in March 1998. What made you start lifeguarding and what has made you stay in the profession? I grew up around the beach, came through the Surf Life Saving movement and was into training and competing. So, for me, lifeguarding just seemed like a natural choice. It was what I was interested in, what I was good at and what I liked doing. I realised early on that being around the beach and ocean is exactly where I wanted to be, and those feelings have not changed. What opportunities has lifeguarding given you? Lifeguarding has given me the opportunity to have rewarding and challenging employment with a healthy work-life balance. It’s been a great job while raising a family (2 boys, aged 19 and 16) and once my youngest completes his schooling I am interested in taking the opportunity to travel on working holidays. Has your job allowed you to do other things in life that may not be possible otherwise? As a lifeguard you get to see and do many things that are unique to the occupation. Any event or incident that occurs at the beach, in some way, has lifeguard involvement.
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Has the profession changed over time in your opinion? Lifeguarding has changed as a profession during my time. I think that lifeguarding has become a more desirable long-term career option. About 25 years ago it was more transient— a job between other jobs and study, or a stepping stone into other emergency services. Improvements in pay and working conditions, as well as better training and resourcing, have helped make lifeguarding a more attractive long-term career option. Also, lifeguards have forged a new identity over time. In the early ‘90s the role was more of “beach inspector”, where local law regulation was a key focus. Now however, it’s about education and lifeguards are more valued by the community as they are experts in beach and water safety. Our goal to provide safety to the bathing public has not changed though! What is the best part of your job and most challenging? Best part of the job: Location, location, location... and when a rescue turns out well. Most challenging part: Keeping the beach users safe (they do all sorts of mad stuff). As I’m getting older, managing injuries and staying fit is also more difficult.
What advice do you give to new lifeguards or aspiring lifeguards? Know your beach. Know your equipment. Know your limitations. Expect the unexpected. Stay off your bloody mobile phones! Do you have a memorable rescue or moment from your career? As far as rescues go, we average around 150 per year at Coolum. One that stands out as memorable was a mass rescue of 25 school students. I was the senior lifeguard on duty at Coolum and with the assistance of two other lifeguards, we successfully brought them all back to shore after being swept out in a rip. All three of us were at our limits, using a Jet Ski and two rescue boards— it was very challenging rounding up that many swimmers who were scattered about in the water. Four of the patients needed oxygen and were transported to hospital by ambulance. All were released later that evening. That’s just one I remember, having a good ending to a very near tragedy. How do you prepare for a day on patrol and what keeps you fit and healthy? I don’t do anything special to prepare for a day on patrol. I do like to know what the forecast is. I routinely check equipment on arrival and am always ready to expect the unexpected. I keep fit these days by having an active lifestyle in my work and leisure time, and a few pool swims just to keep me honest. Is there anything else you might like to share about your career or life? I’ve just come back to work after two weeks leave, which I spent either looking up at a ceiling while holding a paint brush or crawling around on concrete laying tiles...it just reminded me how much I love going to work at the beach every day!
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CELEBRATING 10 YEARS:
Proving there are many pathways in lifeguarding, Victorian lifeguard Jim Unkles – celebrating ten years of service this season – grew up in an inner-city suburb of Melbourne and refused swimming lessons until the age of eleven. “I had a close call in the water while fishing with my dad. I remember jumping off the pier and then getting into trouble in the water,” says Jim. “It was a bad experience, but it gave me the motivation to finally want to learn to swim.” By sixteen, he had followed his uncle into the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club and completed his Bronze Medallion. At the time, his uncle told him it would be the best thing he would ever do with his life. “He was right,” says Jim, who went on to attain his Gold Medallion and work as a lifeguard at Portsea, as well as on the Surf Coast, Phillip Island, Port Fairy and as an event lifeguard. 01
“Event lifeguarding is a really enjoyable way to use your skills in a different environment and can take you to some pretty funny places – film sets, rowing regattas, or just learning how to launch a rescue water craft in a place that isn’t made for it can make it interesting,” says Jim. “It’s also just another chance to ensure people are enjoying the water safely, while spending quality time with the good people you’re rostered on with.” Outside lifeguarding, Jim’s other great passion is hockey – as a player and also as an umpire at international level. He also works as a full-time podiatrist during winter. He says changes to lifeguarding over the ten years he has been working in the field has largely been changed from a rescue-heavy work approach to a proactive preventive action philosophy. “I’m really proud of the professionalism we now have on the beach and the way we all work as a team,” says Jim. “We work hard to educate around swimming between the flags and there’s been great progress – but some people are still really hard to convince not to swim at certain dangerous places.” Jim trains hard to keep up his fitness for the job by running, surfing, swimming and gym work, alongside hockey games in winter. “The most memorable part of lifeguarding has to be the friends I’ve made – all across the state,” says Jim. “You work together in some pretty hairy circumstances and it gives you a really good bond.
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You’re all part of a lifesaving family and you pull together, which might be as simple as bringing the other guards an ice cream when you know they’ve had a hard day of rescues.” Although the end of his lifeguarding career may be approaching, a new clubhouse facility in Portsea is enticing him on for at least another season. He admits the lifestyle will be pretty hard to say no to when it is time to hang up his rescue tube. “It’s the best job in the world being able to work on the beach and do something you love,” says Jim. “I’m really proud to work for the Australian Lifeguard Service – it’s something that was a big goal of mine, so to be able to say I have worked for the service for ten years is something pretty special.” 01 Jim Unkles & Seb Hales 02 James Tissot & Jim Unkles 03 Jim on patrol Photos courtesy of Herald Sun
5 MINUTES WITH
5 MINUTES WITH:
JORDAN WHITE Shellharbour lifeguard Jordan has patrolled the NSW south coast for several years and spoke to us about why she loves it and the importance of a packed lunch! Where do you call home? Warilla, NSW. Have you always lived in Warilla? Yes! How long have you been lifeguarding? It’s been seven years so far- I started off with two years at Kiama Municipal Council and I am currently doing my fifth year at Shellharbour City Council. Has lifeguarding influenced your career/other interests? Yes it has. I am also a member of Warilla SLSC and lifeguarding has only enhanced my knowledge and skills for the voluntary patrols I do at my local surf club. What has kept you working on the beach for seven years? My love for the beach. If I’m not working, I’m either out in the water training or surfing. Does lifeguarding complement your lifestyle? Yes, I love sport, outdoor activities and train at the beach every morning and afternoon. I also work at a high school, which enables me to lifeguard on weekends and during school holidays. What is your most memorable lifeguarding story? Going for a paddle one day with a pod of about 50 dolphins. Then afterwards, when I was paddling back to shore, a hammer head shark popped up next to me. I was so scared, but it was pretty cool once I made it back to shore. How do you prepare for a day on patrol? Preparation for a day on patrol actually starts months before. I get into good physical condition and update my training qualifications prior to the lifeguard season. And I ALWAYS pack a good lunch for the day haha. What is your party trick/secret skill off the beach? I can sew and I can also do multiple front handsprings in a row.
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WRAP UP Many parts of the country got no respite from the heat this summer, with extreme temperatures felt across most of Australia. Meanwhile, cold water currents and stingers provided some challenges for lifeguard services, while others were busy rescuing in unusual circumstances. These are some highlights from the season.
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SUMMER WR AP UP
IN COLD WATER –
HOW WEATHER PATTERNS CHANGE WATER TEMPERATURE
Were your chills multiplying over the summer? Well, there is a reason for that (and it’s not Sandy). The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) explains why the east coast experienced a drop in water temperature over the summer. As crowds headed to central and northern New South Wales beaches to beat the heat in early January, many would have been caught off guard by the cool water temperatures. Sea temperatures dropped to as low as 15 to 17 degrees Celsius in some places—that’s 4 to 5 degrees cooler than average for this time of year. The cause? A wind-driven process that brings colder water to the coastline, known as the ‘Ekman transport’ effect.
What is Ekman transport? Ekman transport is the movement of water that happens under certain wind conditions. It is named after Swedish oceanographer Vagn Walfrid Ekman, who first described the process in 1902.
How does it work? Sustained winds in a consistent direction over the ocean move the top layer of water (to about 30 metres depth). In the southern hemisphere, the water layer moves to the left of the wind direction due to the Earth’s rotation (known as the Coriolis effect). As the top layer of water is moved by the wind it needs to be replaced by water nearby or below the surface. However, if the coast is to the right of the wind direction, and the winds continue for more than a day, the top layer of water is dragged away from the coast and can only be replaced by water below the surface. The result is a process that draws up colder and more nutrient-rich water from the depths of the ocean to the surface, known as ‘upwelling’. The longer the winds continue, and the longer the stretch of coastline that has wind in a similar direction, the more cold water is brought to the surface. This ‘upwelled’ water can last for days (or longer) until wind conditions change and the cold water sinks again.
Your location will determine the wind direction that will make upwelling happen. If you look out to sea from the shore, the wind needs to be consistently blowing from the left. This means that northerly or northeasterly winds are required along most of the east coast, and south-easterly winds in the eastern Great Australian Bight.
Winds blowing along the east coast of Australia can lead to upwelling of colder water to the surface
The reverse process (downwelling) can also happen, bringing warmer water towards the coast from boundary ocean currents such as the East Australian Current or Leeuwin Current.
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SUMMER WR AP UP
Where does it happen? Upwelling is more likely to occur along certain parts of the Australian coastline, especially in New South Wales, South East Queensland and the Bonney Coast (South Australia). An important influence on upwelling locations is the width of the continental shelf. Upwelling occurs when the continental shelf is narrow, and the sea becomes very deep relatively close to the shore. This means that cooler water from the depth requires less time and energy to reach the coastline. This is why it’s observed along the South East Queensland and Far North Queensland coasts, but typically not within the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Headlands and bays along the coastline may also vary the effects from beach to beach.
What will you observe?
How can I tell if upwelling will occur? Monitor 7-day forecasts for sea surface temperatures and currents at bom.gov.au/oceanography/forecasts Keep an eye out for sustained winds forecast and observed along the coastline at www.bom.gov.au/meteye.
COLD WATER UPWELLING ON THE COAST OF NEW SOUTH WALES, JANUARY 2019 In early 2019, Ekman transport upwelling cooled water temperatures along the northern and central New South Wales coastline. What started it was a ‘blocking high’—a strong high-pressure system which remained near stationary in the Tasman Sea for a long time, resulting in persistent northeasterly winds. The cooler water temperatures (note the yellow and green colours) close to the coastline contrasted sharply with the warm East Australian Current offshore (orange, red and purple colours).
When upwelling happens, lifeguards and beachgoers may notice that water temperatures get colder from one day to the next. Sometimes this leads to more hospitalisations for hypothermia. While swimmers may find this uncomfortable or hazardous, those who enjoy fishing could have cause to celebrate. The cold water drawn up from the ocean depths is typically richer in nutrients and can boost fish numbers near the coast.
UPWELLING OF NUTRIENTRICH WATER IS ALSO IMPORTANT FOR COASTAL ECOLOGY; ATTRACTING AND NURTURING MARINE LIFE, INCLUDING WHALES.
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Sea surface temperature forecast for 7 January 2019 from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Ocean Forecast Map Viewer
SUMMER WR AP UP
OF PATROLS FOR QUEENSLAND LIFEGUARDS There was no Christmas break for Queensland lifeguards, with thousands of rescues, record crowds, and swarms of bluebottles keeping them busy over the peak summer months. In fact, new figures released by Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) have once again highlighted the crucial role they continue to play up and down the coast each year. During the peak holiday months of December and January, Queensland lifeguards watched over and protected more than six million beachgoers, while successfully performing 1,601 rescues across the state. In addition, they also treated a staggering 27,532 beachgoers for cuts, abrasions, stings and other minor injuries, and performed 248,187 preventative actions to proactively protect swimmers in and around the water.
“The summer school holidays are easily one of the busiest periods for us on patrol and we saw that again this year as millions of people visited Queensland beaches.”
1,601 RESCUES ACROSS THE STATE IN DEC & JAN
This year’s peak holiday figures represent a significant increase across all key areas when compared the corresponding period in 2017/18. In total, preventative actions increased 12%, rescues surged 113%, and first aid treatments jumped up by a staggering 164%. ALS Queensland lifeguard supervisor Calan Lovitt said it had been a challenging, yet successful, holiday period. “The summer school holidays are easily one of the busiest periods for us on patrol, and we saw that again this year as millions of people visited Queensland beaches,” he said. “Most importantly, there’s a significant amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure our lifeguards are ready to handle everything that’s thrown at them over the peak summer months”.
27,532 248,187 TREATMENTS FOR CUTS, ABRASIONS, STINGS AND OTHER MINOR INJURIES
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SUMMER WR AP UP
QUEENSLAND BEACHES STUNG BY THE BLUES… (NO, WE ARE NOT REFERRING TO THE STATE OF ORIGIN) In addition to protecting huge holiday crowds, lifeguards were also kept on their toes during the peak summer months as swarms of marine stingers descended on Queensland beaches. Sustained northerly winds, warm water temperatures, and extended heatwaves led to an extraordinary number of bluebottles in the water and, subsequently, a significant spike in the number of stings reported and treated across the state’s south east. In total, Queensland lifeguards and surf lifesavers treated 34,899 bluebottle stings in December and January alone. This was a staggering 297 per cent jump from the previous year. ALS Queensland chief lifeguard Greg Cahill said the number of stings was unprecedented.
“The sheer volume of stings that were recorded and treated over the past few months is something we’ve genuinely never seen or experienced before as an organisation,” he said.
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“There’s normally an influx of bluebottles in the water at this time of year, particularly with the warmer weather, but certainly not to the extent we’ve seen in recent months.”
A review of data shows there were 13,288 stings recorded in December, and a further 21,611 recorded in January. By comparison, there were 15,111 stings treated by surf lifesavers and lifeguards in the entire 18-month period immediately before. While the swarms of stingers added another dimension for lifeguards on patrol, Mr Cahill said he was really pleased with how the situation had been managed. “Our lifeguards are already dealing with huge holiday crowds and testing conditions this time of year, and the mass influx of bluebottles obviously added another significant challenge,” he said. “But they’ve done a tremendous job in terms of protecting beachgoers and managing the risks associated with bluebottles, and they should be rightly proud of their efforts over the past few months. “There were times where beaches had to be closed as a direct result of bluebottles, or where beachgoers required hospitalisation following a sting, and in each instance, our lifesavers and lifeguards managed the situation exceptionally well.”
SUMMER WR AP UP
…WHILE FRASER ISLAND FACES A DIFFERENT STING Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) is continuing to take positive and proactive steps to boost public safety on Fraser Island following a number of suspected Irukandji stings recorded over the peak summer months. While there are no traditional beach patrols on the island, lifeguards and surf lifesavers became a regular sight over the holiday period, conducting daily stinger drags across December and January, and directly engaging with beachgoers about where and how to swim safely. The western side of Fraser Island has previously been identified as a particularly high-risk stretch of coastline and, importantly, the recent initiatives continue to build on SLSQ’s commitment to improving and increasing safety for all visitors.
and comes after 11 people were reportedly stung over a four-week period between 11 December 2018 and 10 January 2019. In total the daily drags, primarily focused on an area between Moon Point and Wathumba Creek, captured seven specimens. These were passed onto SLSQ’s marine stinger advisor Dr Jamie Seymour for analysis and further testing. At least one of the samples was subsequently identified by Dr Seymour as Carukia Barnesi from the Irukandji family, prompting SLSQ to reissue warnings about the need for beachgoers to put safety first at all times. SLSQ lifesaving services coordinator, Julie Davis, said the stinger drags were continuing to provide the organisation with vital information about the prevalence and location of Irukandji in the water.
“There have been a number of stings on Fraser Island over the past few years, which is obviously concerning, and that prompted us to return again over summer to conduct additional drags and community engagement activities,” she said.
This marks the third consecutive year that lifeguards and lifesavers have had an active presence on the island during the summer holidays
In addition to regular stinger drags, SLSQ also rolled out a wide range of community awareness activities on Fraser Island to educate beachgoers about the presence and potential threat of Irukandji.
This saw lifesavers and lifeguards proactively engaging with beachgoers, campers, swimmers, boaters, and other visitors to provide them with information about how to stay safe in and around the water. SLSQ thanks Hervey Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue for its assistance in delivering these vital services on Fraser Island.
01 Bluebottles 02 QLD beach bluebottles 03 Fraser Island Lifeguards 04 Stinger drag at Fraser Island Photos courtesy of Tibor Van Mass
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SUMMER WR AP UP
STOKED TO WORK TOGETHER
NSW WIPEOUT TENSIONS IN THE SURF history reveals a lack of understanding at times between the two groups. Australian surfing icon, Simon Anderson, expresses it well and explains the tendency for people to end up favouring one subculture over the other.
David Murray, President SLS NSW with John O’ Neill, Chair of Surfing NSW
“The relationship between surfers and surf lifesavers soured during this time because there wasn’t a good understanding of each other’s needs. Surfboards were big and a safety hazard to swimmers and lifesavers would place the flags in the best surf spots on the beach without consideration. The conflict increased when local councils brought in a registration fee for surfboards, and it was the lifesavers that had to enforce the fines and confiscate boards.”
It’s no surprise surfers and lifesavers have in the past struggled to share the renowned surfing breaks and pristine sandy beaches of NSW. In an historic agreement, Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) and Surfing NSW have joined forces to provide benefits to members of both organisations.
In more recent years, the gap between lifesavers and surfers has narrowed with a greater understanding and appreciation of each community’s requirements. Surfing NSW CEO, Luke Madden, expresses his excitement for the partnership to demonstrate this newfound and growing friendship.
Collaborating on industry knowledge and experience, a Memorandum of Understanding introduces new opportunities to improve member welfare and maintain, develop and promote beach safety across the state.
“We’re coming together to make our beaches safer and we’re stoked that we can work together officially now. We’ll be bringing to life combined initiatives like our Surfers Rescue 24/7 water safety program, providing CPR and board rescue techniques to surfers. SLS NSW has helped with the growth of this program that is now engaging and empowering surfers along the entire NSW coastline to help out when there are no lifeguards or patrols available.”
The agreement signed by heads of both organisations presents a united front in terms of beach safety and event services. SLS NSW will provide lifeguard and water safety assets to Surfing NSW events and conduct First Aid training for members of Surfing NSW. Surfing NSW will provide accredited judges for the Midford NSW Board Riding Championships. In turn, both organisations will receive cross-promotion and the opportunity for development, some of the many benefits the partnership will offer. Although many people have been involved in both the surfing and lifesaving communities since the 1960s,
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Increased safety measures, more qualified First Aid trained surfers and better collaboration are just some of the benefits of the agreement as it evolves.
SUMMER WR AP UP
NEW PATHWAYS FOR
SUTHERLAND GUARDS Cooperation and strategic thinking have brought Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) and the Sutherland Shire Council together, to improve the quality of lifeguard services and the opportunity for community engagement. The two organisations first started working together in 2011, when SLS NSW delivered an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) course to the Sutherland Shire Council (SSC) lifeguards. Since then, the collaborative relationship has continued to ensure safe and effective practices across the south Sydney beaches. Most recently, the two services jointly developed an accessible training pathway for aspiring and current lifeguards. The program aims to give local community members an opportunity to become fully certified and skilled lifeguards, as well as ensure current lifeguards have the most up-to-date qualifications. The Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Education & Training Pathway allows individuals to further their training at any point depending on their current qualifications. By assessing the personâ€™s prior skills and knowledge, if any, the pathway assists the Sutherland Council in meeting the required qualifications for each individual
lifeguard, while still adhering to the minimum beach lifeguard requirements. During September 2018, 23 lifeguards from Sutherland Shire participated in a three-day Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Development course with Australian Lifeguard Service Education Coordinator, Steve Allan. The course was a great success, with a variety of re-accreditation courses conducted, including Pain Management, Spinal Management, Advanced Resuscitation Techniques, First Aid and Certificate III in Public Safety (Aquatic Search & Rescue). The ease of access for lifeguards to obtain the most current qualifications, and ability to be credited for prior awards, are just some of the many benefits the new pathway has to offer both existing and new lifeguards.
The collaborative relationship has continued to ensure safe and effective practices across the south Sydney beaches.
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SUMMER WR AP UP
TATHRA LIFEGUARDS SHOW COMMUNITY SPIRIT It’s no secret that 2018 was one of the toughest years in history for the small coastal town of Tathra, NSW. In a display typical of the resilience seen throughout the entire community, lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) stepped up to ensure that visitors and locals could enjoy an extended and safe summer on the beach. Following the devastating bushfires that ripped through their little patch of paradise last March, the Tathra community shared a genuine fear that this would discourage tourists, making the rebuild phase of the recovery even more challenging than expected. Fortunately, support from tourists remained strong, allowing beach safety services to resume with ALS lifeguards extending patrols at Tathra Beach into February, like they have done for the past three years. With the area’s natural beauty and tranquillity, Tathra Beach has long been a hot spot for both tourists and locals, even outside of the peak summer season. With this in mind, concerns arose that there wasn’t a patrolled location during the week for visitors to safely enjoy right through summer. In 2015 a collaboration between local businesses including Bega Valley Motors, Big 4 Tathra Beach, Tathra Beachside, Tathra Beach House Apartments, and the Tathra Chamber of Commerce, funded an additional month of lifeguard patrols (February). As a result, Tathra Beach is the only beach patrolled seven days a week throughout the entire summer (December-February), from south of Mollymook right down to the Victorian border. The initiative proved to be a huge success and has continued each summer, further strengthening relationships between the ALS and the local community.
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Along with the inaugural financers, other businesses, including Tathra Bowling Club, Tathra Hotel, Tathra Beach House, Tathra Country Club, Tathra Lions Club, and the Bega Chamber of Commerce, have come on board in subsequent years to contribute additional funds to the initiative. With our committed, ongoing relationship and genuine desire to help the Tathra community, the ALS this year absorbed the cost of funding February’s additional patrols to support the community as they work through this difficult time. “Our lifeguards live and work in the local area with many having been long term employees of the ALS, and we were keen to support the community during what has been another busy season on the beach,” said ALS NSW Manager Brent Manieri.
“Patrolling Tathra Beach is something that our lifeguards enjoy, and while it has been a difficult and challenging year, the ALS were there delivering the high quality of service that the people of the Sapphire coast deserve.” One person who was certainly delighted to see the lifeguards back on deck was Rob White from Tathra Beach House Apartments, a strong advocate for the extended patrols in 2015. “We’re incredibly grateful for the support of both the professional lifeguards and volunteer lifesavers who do absolutely outstanding work on the beach protecting the community. It’s been a tough year but we are urging visitors to come to our beach and enjoy everything that the region has to offer,” Mr White said.
SUMMER WR AP UP
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK SUTHERLAND SHIRE LIFEGUARDS PROVE THE VALUE OF THEIR EDUCATION AND TRAINING THIS SUMMER. Late in December 2018, Sutherland Shire Lifeguards joined forces with NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and Marine Area Command to rescue two men from a boat in distress in harsh southerly surf conditions at Wanda Beach.
‘SAILING FREE’ WAS CARRIED FROM SOUTH CRONULLA TO GREENHILLS, WHERE IT WAS MET BY LARGE SWELLS AND STRONG WINDS, PUTTING THE VESSEL AND THE CREW AT HIGH RISK.
Hospital for additional medical assistance. The sailor who remained was provided with medical assistance and reassurance at the lifeguard headquarters. After repeated attempts to start the motor failed, the vessel was eventually washed ashore by a series of powerful waves. Lifeguards continued to assist as the tide fell, helping to retrieve gear from the disabled vessel.
Proving to be a challenging rescue mission in the rough conditions, the police were unable to attach a tow line to the troubled vessel. The lifeguards managed to launch their rescue water crafts and rescue the distressed crew, returning the two men to shore where they received immediate medical attention. NSW Ambulance and Sutherland Shire Lifeguards treated one crew member for hypothermia and shock, and transported the other patient to Sutherland
01 Lifeguards attending the vessel 02 ‘Sailing Free’ after the incident Photo courtesy of John Veage, 2018.
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SUMMER WR AP UP
VICTORIAN RWC LIFEGUARD SERVICES DOUBLED
FOR THE 2018/19 SEASON The Life Saving Victoria Rescue Water Craft (RWC) lifeguard service has doubled its sites this season, improving the reach and flexibility of the service around Victoria’s coastline, thanks to state government funding. Two of the new sites operated in the Surf Coast/Bellarine region, to complement an existing service in that area. An additional service was introduced to the southern end of Port Phillip Bay, enhancing the Northern and Central services already in place. They provide great coverage around both bay and surf beach locations. To prepare for the increase in new services, 16 new RWC operators undertook extensive training, predominantly on Surf Coast and Bellarine beaches. One participant, Lachie Appleby, refreshed his knowledge after a couple of years away from lifeguarding while he worked full-time as a carpenter.
“You see the lifeguards at the beach over summer and feel like you’re missing out by not being involved,” says Lachie. “I’m glad I’ve found some time this summer to be able to combine both jobs.” He says one of the best things about the LSV RWC training was the focus on practical learning. 02
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“Any theory elements
that could have been explained out on the water, have been,” says Lachie. “We were also able to come right out of the Barwon Heads base and choose which beach to go to based on surf conditions. This meant we could find the right conditions for what we needed to learn that day.” Knowing and understanding the RWC’s limitations, as well as his own, has been a memorable learning outcome for Lachie from the training. “Just because the RWC can go 100km/hr, doesn’t mean you
SUMMER WR AP UP
THE SUMMER DROWNING TOLL
can,” says Lachie. “Learning our limitations and operational safety has been a valuable experience.” He says the group of lifeguards on the course all came from different areas and could learn from each other.
Coastal drowning fatalities during Summer 2018/19 are the worst on record for the last 15 years.
“Everyone has experience working on the beach, but we also have really different backgrounds – some are involved in education, some come from LSV Comms and others are from back in the office,” says Lachie. “Some were even new to RWC’s and surf conditions, coming from Bay beaches, but they picked it up really easily.” Liam O’Callaghan, LSV Lifesaving Support Officer, was one of the trainers on the course and says it has a teaching focus on safe and responsible operating.
“It’s been a great group and watching the candidates progress from being very reserved on their first day through to being able to complete more technical manoeuvres, such as rescues in the surf zone, is always rewarding to see,” says Liam. The group of experienced lifeguards built on existing skill-sets to prepare themselves for the summer and have been busy already. The Victorian RWC services have completed more than 70 hours in the recent season, including 4,500 preventative actions, and 25 rescues. The RWC’s also support other emergency services, responding to calls for assistance 40 times during the summer period. 01 Lifeguards in training (L-R): Lachie Appleby, Brayden Allen, Benn Fischer, Christian Aquila. 02 RWC training day at Fairhaven Beach.
THIS YEAR 2018/19 *
L AST YEAR 2017/18
15-YEAR AVER AGE 2004-19
Between 1 December 2018 and 28 February 2019 there were 55 coastal drowning deaths in Australia. This is a 45% increase on the 15-year summer average of 38.
512 coastal and ocean drowning deaths
These numbers are a sobering reminder of the necessity for beach patrols and the significant actions Australian lifeguards and surf lifesavers perform.
307 people with permanent incapacitating injuries
In 2018, Surf Life Saving Australia estimated that without the 10,249 recorded rescues performed by lifeguards and surf lifesavers for that year, there would have been an additional:
1,435 people with injuries requiring follow up treatment.1
PWC (2011) What is the economic contribution of Surf Life Saving in Australia. SLSA: Sydney.
Disclaimer: *The data is correct as of 1 March 2019 and subject to change. These numbers are yet to be formally confirmed by the coroner.
SUMMER DROWNING DEATHS BY STATE/ TERRITORY
(1 December 2018 – 28 February 2019)
11 6 21 12
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LIFEGUARD SURVE Y
STRAIGHT FROM THE LIFEGUARDS MOUTH
COASTAL ISSUES FROM A LIFEGUARD AND LIFESAVER PERSPECTIVE
When it comes to knowledge of a beach, it doesnâ€™t get any better than the local lifeguard of lifesaver. They have seen it all and if they have been around for a while, chances are they also have seen things change. To tap into this knowledge, Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) asked lifesavers and lifeguards around Australia for their opinions on current and emerging coastal issues. The 2018 survey gathered almost 900 valid responses, mostly from lifesavers (81%) but also from lifeguards (5%) and the results are in and we can share some insight into what is being dealt with around Australia.
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LIFEGUARD SURVE Y
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LIFEGUARD SURVE Y
WHAT DO YOU PERCEIVE AS CURRENT ISSUES ON THE COAST IN YOUR AREA?
“The increase in the number of hotter days brings more people to the beach.”
When asked about the current problems on the coast, swimming outside the flags, lack of swimming ability and rip currents overwhelmingly comprised the top three as moderate issues. Increased visitation, and language barriers also featured and were consistent around Australia as minor to moderate issues (opposite page).
Other prevalent issues were variable by state (Figure 2) and represent a combination of factors that contribute to many preventative actions and rescues.
TOP FIVE ISSUES 1. Swimming outside flags
Unsurprisingly, rock fishing was reported as one of the top issues in New South Wales, however it didn’t feature in any other location. Likewise, marine creatures are a perceived as an issue in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, but not in the southern states.
2. Lack of swimming ability 3. Rip currents 4. Increased visitation
Extreme weather is also a problem for those in Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia, while personal water craft (PWC) are an issue in the cooler southern states (Victoria and Tasmania).
5. Extreme weather
Mental health issues Boating Snorkelling Violence NONE
Rock fishing Rocks/cliffs Medical
Lack of swimming ability
No. of swimmers
Alcohol/Drugs PWC Surfing
“There’s an increasing amount of people who swim outside of flags and just nearby thinking that will be safe enough.”
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MODERATE Extreme weather Increased visitation
Swimming outside flags
Marine creatures Language barriers Injuries
Figure 1. Current coastal issues weighted by importance across Australia.
LIFEGUARD SURVE Y
1 Marine creatures 2 Alcohol/drugs 3 Extreme weather 4 Lack of swimming ability 5 Mental health issues
1 Swimming outside flags 2 Lack of swimming ability 3 Rip currents 4 Extreme weather 5 Marine creatures
1 Swimming outside flags 2 Lack of swimming ability 3 Rip currents 4 Marine creatures 5 Injuries
1 Rip currents 2 Swimming outside flags 3 Lack of swimming ability 4 Rock fishing 5 Increased visitation
SA 1 Swimming outside flags 2 Lack of swimming ability 3 Rip currents 4 Increased visitation 5 Extreme weather
VIC 1 Swimming outside flags 2 Lack of swimming ability 3 Rip currents 4 PWC (jet ski) 5 Increased visitation
TAS 1 Swimming outside flags 2 Lack of swimming ability 3 Rip currents 4 Other watercraft 5 PWC (jet ski)
Figure 2. Overview of the top five coastal issues by state/territory
ARE THE COASTAL ISSUES IN YOUR AREA CHANGING OR NEW ISSUES EMERGING? Almost two thirds of respondents (61%) said their local coastal issues are changing. When asked how, the majority (78%) state that beach visitation is increasing, and that this is the biggest change currently happening. More specifically, visitation by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) communities is said to be increasing. (Figure 3). This change reportedly contributes to the language barrier issue and the lack of beach safety knowledge issue.
“Tourists come to the beach and swim fully clothed.”
“There are increasing numbers of people, yachts, power craft, stand up paddle boards all in the same area.”
TOP FIVE CHANGING ISSUES 1. Increased visitation 2. Increased CaLD community 3. Low understanding of beach/surf 4. Lack of flag awareness 5. Erosion
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LIFEGUARD SURVE Y
Figure 3. Issues that are perceived to be changing at beaches around Australia
DO YOU FEEL CHANGES ARE NECESSARY TO ADDRESS FUTURE COASTAL SAFETY CONCERNS?
The vast majority of lifesavers and lifeguards (96%) felt that changes are necessary to address current and future coastal safety concerns, particularly to address the needs of the community.
One-quarter (25%) of respondents said that they are asked safety-related questions by the general public 1-5 times per day. However more than half (56%) are asked only 1-5 times per week and very few (10%) are asked for safety advice more than five times per day. On a positive note, almost everyone (92%) claim they have the right information and knowledge to answer queries from the beachgoing public. However, some say that additional training could help to deal emerging issues in the future. Figure 4 describes the suggested changes to address beach safety issues. Most respondents (84%) said that there is a need for more public education, and more than half would also like to see more signage (59%) and safety campaigns (53%).
This information was first presented at the inaugural Coastal Drowning Prevention Forum in 2018 and has been essential in informing future strategic directions for drowning and incident prevention throughout Surf Life Saving. Some of the issues that were identified, like rip currents and swimming outside the flags, were already high priority agenda items. But others, like increased visitation and CaLD communities, deserve more attention. The insights from lifeguards and lifesavers has been invaluable in identifying these priorities and how coastal issues are changing around the country. Since then, SLSA has calculated that there are at least 300 million beach visitations annually in Australia. The previous estimate from almost a decade ago was 100 million. The new estimate is supported by data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Tourism Australia data and the SLSA National Coastal Safety Survey and formulates a new benchmark for future initiatives.
Figure 4. Changes that lifesavers and lifeguards see necessary to address future coastal safety concerns and meet the need of the community. Respondents could tick several options.
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53% 39% 29% 4%
Change patrol hours and/or season
No changes necessary
CHALLENGING COMMUNITY ISSUES Lifeguards from Sutherland Shire Council have been working with state and local stakeholders to address water safety in South Eastern Sydney. The â€˜Water Safety Challengeâ€™ delivers culturally sensitive projects to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) communities, particularly new migrant families and young people. The program has improved community understanding of water safety, drowning prevention and safe aquatic recreation through behavioural change and skills development.
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LIFEGUARD E XCHANGE
GONE CAMPIN’ Have you ever wondered what it would be like to exchange the beach for the mountains? Tasmanian lifeguard Jacob Rugless recounts his experience at an American summer camp and why he is going back. My relationship with the surf community began when I attended a primary school beach program and have been actively involved with Surf Life Saving Tasmania for the past 13 years. During this time, I have progressed along the lifesaving pathway and currently patrol captain at my surf club. In 2015 I accepted a position with the Australian Lifeguard Service at Clifton Beach and have patrolled at some local events such as The Falls Festival and Freycinet Challenge. While these experiences have been amazing, the furthest lifesaving has ever taken me is to America. Sometime around 2012-13 an article in the Australian Lifeguard Magazine caught my eye. The piece was for a lifeguard exchange in American summer camps, which really interested me. However, I was still at school and not in the right stage of life to apply, so I kind of forgot about it until high school came to an end. I started thinking about my future and the idea of a gap year was sounding better and better. I wanted to travel, especially to the States, and that was when I remembered the summer camps. It just so happened that a few guys from my club had done
the same exchange program when they finished school. I was fortunate to be put in contact with one of the recruiters, conversing over email and Skype before being offered a contract as a lifeguard. Before I knew it, I was on my way to North Carolina. I was based at a beautiful camp along the Blue Ridge mountains and Blue Star Camps was where I called home for two and a half months. I was quick to realise that I was not patrolling with rolling waves or sandy beaches; the camp contained two huge lakes and a pool which were used by hundreds of kids over the summer. The work was very similar to what I was used to with most activities involving preventative actions. I was required to undertake a lifeguard course that qualified me to American standards. It was very similar to the Bronze Medallion with extensive time dedicated to learning the legal obligations of a lifeguard. Once I was qualified, I performed shift work at the pool and lakes. The pool duties were comparable to those in Australia, but the lake patrols were entertaining! There were obstacle courses, aqua play grounds, slides and stand up paddle boards. As you would expect, these activities can become quite dangerous when full of kids and required a lot more attention than the pool. However, lifejackets had to be worn for ‘deep water’ activities, which eased the pressure. There are also camp-wide events that are incredibly fun – from carnivals to team challenges – it was the most excitement I saw in the kids all summer.
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LIFEGUARD E XCHANGE
“ I encourage anyone to take up an opportunity like this and experience a different kind of lifeguarding.”
Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana. The people we met were just amazing, and the live music was phenomenal in downtown Nashville. After the road trip I flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where I stayed with one of the American staff members from camp, and then to Jamaica for a week before returning home.
In my role I was only responsible for the kids when on patrol. In other camps, this is not always the case; employees are also ‘camp counsellors’ and work around-the-clock. Apart from lifeguarding, I helped out with daily administration and general maintenance tasks. Because many camps shut down during winter (they freeze over), there are months of preparation work before the kids arrive too. The whole camp felt like a community and was often referred to as the “Blue Star Family”. My accommodation was a cabin shared with 10 other guys aged 18 to 24 years. As you can imagine, we became mates quickly and at the end of the camp we were more like brothers. I ended up travelling with 15 of my camp “family” once the season finished. After camp we used the remainder of the time on our visas (around one month) to travel and spend the money earnt while lifeguarding. I road tripped with all 15 mates to Asheville, North Carolina, Nashville,
Spending summer over there was a life changing experience. I will cherish those memories and friends forever. I met people from all around the world and now have numerous places to couch surf for future world travels. I encourage anyone to take up an opportunity like this and experience a different kind of lifeguarding. I have become hooked by the “camp bug” and will be returning to my Blue Star Family. I miss the long summer camp days and knowing how much the kids love it is the main incentive to go back.
01 Sunset at the Blue Star Camp 02 Jacob (Top row, second from right) with camp mates 03 Camp-wide event Photos courtesy of Jacob Rugless
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KITEBOARDING AUSTR ALIA
LETâ€™S GO FLY A KITE
(AND SAVE IT FROM SOARING)
Most kites have an inflated leading edge and struts, to give it shape and rigidity.
Kiteboarding Australia told us everything we need to know about rescuing a kitesurfer safely. When conditions turn windy, most beaches will clear out and the sand is left almost empty. But when the wind exceeds 15 knots, it is not uncommon to see the sky filled with colourful sails as the kitesurfing playground opens for business. The sport of kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, has become increasingly popular across Australia, with an estimated 10,000 people attending at least one kitesurfing lesson over the summer season. The sportâ€™s popularity makes kitesurfing locations increasingly busy, often vying for space with other beachgoers. While equipment and safety measures have come a long way in the past decade, there are serious safety concerns when attaching a person to a powerful kite; especially for new participants or when conditions are rough. When kitesurfers (kiters) get in trouble other kiters will often help them, but there are times when a rescue is necessary. Rescuing a kitesurfer is not always simple as it involves dealing with a lot of equipment too. Unfortunately, in many instances, rescuers are unaware of how to recover kite gear safely or at all. A rescuer needs to know what equipment a kitesurfer uses. Basic equipment consists of: safety system, kite leash, bar with lines, harness, kite and board. When accidents happen, a kitesurfer should be able to perform a self-rescue and pack down. They reduce the power of the kite, wind up the lines and use the kite as a flotation device, leaving it inflated so that they can be spotted by potential rescuers. In an event where the kiteboarder is not able to pack down, it is up to the rescuer to retrieve the equipment.
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KITEBOARDING AUSTR ALIA
3. BAR WITH LINES
Attached by a harness loop and opens with a quick release (red). Attached are four or five lines between 15-27m long.
6. KITE LEASH
Attached to kitesurfer
4. SAFETY SYSTEM 2. BOARD
Usually a twintip, sometimes a surfboard or a raceboard. Take care with raceboards containing a hydro-foil, they are cumbersome and have very sharp edges.
Additionally, there is a second release system – the kite leash – that can be deactivated. When pulled, the kiter is no longer attached to the kite.
Modern kitesurfing equipment comes with a safety system, i.e. a quick release mechanism that drastically reduces the power of the kite.
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RESCUE TECHNIQUES APPROACHING A KITESURFER
When approaching a kitesurfer with the kite in the water, remember that you do not know why they are down. Lack of wind, inability to re-launch, broken lines, entanglement with objects (fishing line/nets or buoys etc) or injury are all likely causes. ●●
Always approach kiter first to assess the situation, check for injury and communicate your plan of action. Always keep a look out for lines. Approach the rider at a right angle to the wind (90 degrees) and avoid drifting downwind from the kitesurfer.
Scenario 2: Kite recovery If the kiter is okay but the kite cannot be re-launched (due to equipment failure or weather conditions). Therefore, the kite, board, bar, lines and kitesurfer need to be recovered. If the kiter has performed a self-rescue and pack down, lines will be wrapped, and the gear will be ready to take on board immediately. If not, brief the kiteboarder of your plan. ●●
Keep a reasonable distance from the kiter at all times. Green scenario (below) demonstrates how to approach a kiter safely, to avoid injury, gear damage or line entanglement.
BLUE SCENARIO indicates safe approach of kite
Approach the kite from a downwind position (Blue scenario in diagram). The gear will be drifting downwind too so it is essential to keep an eye on the lines. Turn the kite onto it’s back, find the deflate valve and deflate the kite. If conditions allow, signal to kiter to wind up the lines and pack the kite. Hold off until kiter signals wrap up is complete. Collect kiter and the equipment.
If conditions don’t allow for pack-down by the kitesurfer, ensure the kiter has detached from the bar and wrap the deflated kite with the bar and lines inside. Collect kiter and board.
Scenario 3: Injured or unconscious rider GREEN SCENARIO indicates safe approach of rider
WIND Dangerous Area – Do not enter
Unsafe Area – Pay attention
Safe Area – Approach rider
Remember, the kitesurfer and gear will be drifting downwind and the kite can suddenly re-launch while still inflated.
Scenario 1: Board recovery The kiter is okay, the kite is in the air, but the board has been lost. If you can find the board, drop it a few metres to one side and downwind of the kiteboarder. Monitor the kiter from an upwind position until they recover the board and can ride away.
Approach the kiters zone and keep a look out for lines. Detach kiter from the kite by pushing the red plastic quick release at the harness loop and pull the second release (the kite leash) at the harness. This is the fastest and easiest way to detach the kite. If not feasible, or lines are tangled around the kiter, cut the kite lines (all 4 or 5) close to the bar and recover kiteboarder. Leave equipment behind or recover later.
IN ANY OF THESE SCENARIOS IT IS IMPORTANT TO: ●
Never wrap lines around your finger or hands – it can cause de-gloving injuries Never put yourself immediately downwind of a kitesurfer (in the drop zone) Never take your eyes off the lines – they can easily wrap around a propeller or person
Adapted with permission from: Kiteboarding Australia (2016) Instructor Manual. For more information visit: www.kiteboardingaus.com.au
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NCSR 2018 – E XCERPT
NATION AL COA S TAL SAFE T Y RE POR T 2018 S U R F L I FE S AV I N G AU S T R A L I A
NATIONAL OVERVIEW This report presents a national summary of coastal drowning deaths and participation profiles from SLSA’s National Coastal Safety Report 2018. The full report, including state summaries, is available at sls.com.au/publications.
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NCSR 2018 â€“ E XCERPT
N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W 2 017-18: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W
n the National Coastal Safety Report 2017, SLSA commenced reporting on coastal aquatic fatalities other than the drowning deaths it traditionally covers. These include fatalities due to medical conditions, injuries, marine wildlife and other causes. Coastal aquatic fatalities occur during a range of activities and in a range of locations, impacting on the community similarly to drowning related incidents. They often have long term, devastating impacts to family, friends and loved ones in addition to those who are involved in trying to save their lives. Through research we can obtain greater understanding of how these other coastal fatalities occur and be better informed to undertake and implement preventative education and awareness campaigns and services. We can also ensure that the SLS community and other emergency services are appropriately skilled and informed to address such situations.
OTHER AQUATIC FATALITIES
In 2017-18, a total of 110 coastal drowning deaths were recorded. However, SLSA recorded a further 63 coastal fatalities taking the total number of coastal aquatic deaths to 173. Acknowledging that 36 per cent of coastal aquatic deaths is not as a result of drowning creates a range of challenges for the greater community, SLS and all other aquatic emergency service agencies. Understanding the type of incidents that occur and the contributing elements and causes that lead to the fatality will assist all to help reduce incidents in the future.
Coastal Drowning Deaths
Coastal Drowning Aquatic Fatality Ocean Drowning
2017-18: OVERVIEW OF DROWNING DEATHS AND FATALITIES PER CATEGORY
60 Ocean Drowning Aquatic Fatality Coastal Drowning
40 30 20 10 0 NSW
2017â€“18: OVERVIEW OF DROWNING DEATHS AND AQUATIC FATALITIES PER STATE
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NCSR 2018 â€“ E XCERPT
Coastal drowning death Coastal aquatic fatality Coastal drowning death or aquatic fatality
4 23 | 9 13 | 11 6|8
39 | 21
20 | 6 Hobart
6|7 2017-18: COASTAL DROWNING DEATHS AND COASTAL AQUATIC FATALITIES BY STATE In 2017-18 there were 110 coastal and ocean drowning deaths and 63 coastal aquatic fatalities. Red numbers indicate coastal and ocean drowning deaths per state. Blue numbers indicate coastal aquatic fatalities per state. The black number indicates both coastal drowning deaths and aquatic fatalities combined where the total incident number was lower than 5.
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NCSR 2018 â€“ E XCERPT
N AT I O N A L O V E R V I E W 2 017-18: 1-Y E A R R E V I E W
8 0.03 6 0.02 4 0.01
Rate (per 100,000 pop.)
20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39
40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65-69 70-74
2017-18: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY AGE AND GENDER (n=110) The age group representing the highest rate of fatality is 40-44 (0.05 rate per 100,000 pop.). This is also the age group where females made up almost half (46%) of the drowning deaths. Overall, 80% (n=88) of fatalities were male.
Swimming/Wading Boating Snorkelling Rock Fishing Attempting a Rescue Fall Watercraft Jump Other Unknown
42% Beach 28%
Beach Offshore Rock/Cliff Bay Jetty
2017-18: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS BY ACTIVITY (n=110)
2017-18: LOCATION OF COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS (n=110)
The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred while swimming or wading (n=35), boating (n=28), snorkelling (n=10) or rock fishing (n=10).
The majority of coastal and ocean drowning deaths occurred at a beach (n=46), offshore (n=31) or at rock/cliff locations (n=22). Beach locations show a decrease (48% in 2015-16 and 43% in 2016-17) while offshore and rock/cliff locations show an increase from last year (26% and 15% respectively in 2016-17).
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NCSR 2018 – E XCERPT
14-year average drowning deaths 22
2017-18: COASTAL & OCEAN DROWNING DEATHS PER MONTH (n=110) Of the 110 coastal and ocean drowning deaths, 47% (n=52) happened over the summer months (Dec-Feb) which is the highest on record from 2004 (average n=37). Dark-red squares indicate the 14-year average drowning deaths per month.
Less than 1km
More than 50km <1km 1-5km > 5km Ocean
<10km 10-50km >50km International Unknown
2017–18: DISTANCE FROM DROWNING LOCATION TO A LIFESAVING SERVICE (n=110)
2017–18: DISTANCE FROM RESIDENCE TO DROWNING LOCATION (n=110)
Thirty-four individuals (31%) drowned within 1km of the nearest lifesaving service. Almost half (45%) of incidents happened further than 5km from a lifesaving service.
Twenty-nine individuals lived less than 10km from the drowning location. 57 individuals (52%) lived more than 50km from the incident location or were international visitors.
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DHL LIFEGUARD OF THE YEAR
James is the Lifeguard Supervisor for the Port MacquarieHastings region. In the past 12 months he has been the first responder to numerous major incidents in his region showing courage, exceptional leadership and compassion in his profession. His expertise and skills extend well beyond the beach and is why James was awarded DHL Lifeguard of the Year.
James Turnham has become a well-known member of his community for being a media spokesperson on several highprofile incidents, delivering school presentations and regularly operating an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Port Macquarie. However, James is a quiet achiever and is the first to tell anyone upon receiving praise that he is “just doing his job”. “Whilst I never expected recognition for the work I’ve done as a lifeguard, it is nice to know that the efforts myself and all other lifeguards out there are appreciated and do not go un-noticed. As I continue my career with Australian Lifeguard Service, this award will certainly be a reminder of how proud I am to represent the service and uphold the high level of professionalism we provide to the community.” Education has been a large aspect of James’ role with the Australian Lifeguard Service. Over the past season he delivered presentations to over 5,000 school students as well as piloting Surf Rescue Certificate programs with senior secondary students. Earlier in 2018, James was selected to work with Nauruan Lifeguards on behalf of the Nauruan Government. He spent a week on Nauru providing a wide
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range of training and undertaking proficiency tests with the lifeguards, while developing a professional culture for the service.
“It has been a pleasure being able to offer and share my skills and knowledge to other services around Australia and the world. One of my favourite trips was to Nauru; I was extremely lucky to learn a lot about their culture and meet some amazing people during my time there. On a local level, getting our surf safety messages out to the community is a huge passion of mine and something I see as an important role of a lifeguard.“ James is also known to be a great person to work with. He is proactive in keeping a good rapport and ensuring that his team have the appropriate skills to deal with major incidents. The down-to-earth supervisor has organised a range of training to support the service. This includes a mental health first aid course that helps them identify and deal with people who may be
experiencing mental health issues. This training has become vital for the lifeguards to support each other when things get tough and looking out for their family and friends too. “I keep team morale as positive as I can, and this makes me realise that my work is way more than just a job. In our line of work mental health training is extremely handy in many situations at the beach. This applies to people with existing mental health problems, or those experiencing shock and grief. We look after each other within our team by knowing the signs and symptoms, understanding how they may be feeling, what they might be going through and ways to boost our team morale.“ When he’s not on patrol, James is active in his community to promote other causes including Coastal Warriors, an organisation that runs regular clean up days along the Port Macquarie coastline. He is passionate about keeping the beaches free from plastics and maintaining a healthy environment. It is fair to say that his award is well deserved, and the Port Macquarie area is in good hands.
DHL LIFEGUARD OF THE YEAR RUNNERS-UP Brett Wood, WA Brett has used his diverse skill set and knowledge to work across a variety of beaches in the Perth metropolitan area. Trained as a drone operator, Brett was instrumental in the early development and implementation of the program at Secret Harbour SLSC. Brett used his expertise to mentor and train volunteers in drone deployment in surrounding areas. Brett is an enthusiastic and passionate lifeguard willing to share his knowledge and engage the public at any opportunity.
Connor O’Sullivan, QLD Connor is a highly regarded senior lifeguard at Port Douglas and Green Island. Connor is an integral part of the community and has made a significant effort to ensure he knows all emergency services personnel by name. The relationships he has created have allowed Connor to positively promote the lifeguard service and its capabilities to the other emergency services. Connor spends many hours mentoring new staff and is always willing to go above and beyond to help his peers. Connor is well respected within the community and has a strong relationship with the local surf lifesaving volunteers in Port Douglas.
Mark Scotland, VIC Mark prides himself on his preventative approach to his role as a lifeguard. Mark’s methods are traditional and based around communication and education. Mark does this through active engagement of beachgoers, informing them of the hazards at the several beaches he patrols. Mark leads by example always maintaining a high level of physical skill as well as theoretical understanding of surf lifesaving principles. Mark is a mentor on the Victorian Lifesaving Camp, sharing his vast knowledge and experience with future lifeguards.
Past winners – Lifeguard of the Year
James with Tim Gilbert at Awards of Excellence 2018
James Turnham, NSW
Max Pettigrove, QLD
Shane Bevan, QLD
Luke Plant, VIC
Timothy Wilson, QLD
Tim Daymond, NSW
Daniel Sullivan, VIC
Scott McCartney, NSW
Lleam Rees, QLD
Lachlan Holbery-Morgan, VIC
Mark Young, NSW
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RESCUE RECOGNITION We recognise some great rescues by some of the best in the industry and are reminded of the advanced skills and experience among Australian lifeguards.
TRENT WOOLEY, Australian Lifeguard Service, WA On 15 October 2018, Cambridge Roving Lifeguard was alerted to a body boarder in distress 500 metres away at Floreat Groyne. The body boarder had lost his board and was being taken out to sea in a fast-moving rip. In the same vicinity, new recruit lifeguard Trent Woolley was completing some open water swim training and recognised that the body boarder was struggling to return to shore. He swam some distance to reach the distressed body boarder and managed to keep him calm. Trent reassured the man, assisted him out of the strong current and back to the shoreline to his concerned family. The new lifeguard demonstrated all his recently acquired skills, helping to achieve a favourable outcome for the body boarder.
MICHAEL BATES, North Stradbroke Island Lifeguard Service, QLD & BROOK GREGORY, bystander, QLD. On 2 September 2018, lifeguard Michael Bates (â€˜MJâ€™) identified three people in the water struggling between waves and a rock wall. Two women had got in to trouble and a backpacker attempted to assist them but was being pushed under by one of the panicked women. MJ arrived shortly after on the rescue water craft (RWC) to find one woman unresponsive. The conditions and rocks were very hazardous and made the urgent rescue challenging. However, with the assistance of Brook Gregory, a local surfer, and the backpacker, the patient was placed onto the RWC mat. Brook then managed to paddle the other woman and backpacker out of the rip and back to shore without harm. The quick response of MJ and Brook prevented almost certain loss of life and their experience allowed them to stay calm through the difficult rescue.
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THE CERVI SERVICE
Brothers Thomas and James Cervi are lifeguards with the Australian Lifeguard Service. Both were awarded ‘ Rescue of the Month’ in 2018 for performing two different but equally challenging rescues near Noosa Heads.
Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD On the morning of 15 October 2018, Thomas Cervi was surfing at Dolphin Point when he noticed an unconscious person in the water. Thomas paddled to the patient who was near some rocks and supported them while large waves inundated the area. Unable to get through the surf, bystanders attempted to help Thomas move the patient up the steep rocks. However, they could not reach them, and the conditions were also hazardous for the bystanders. Shortly after a lifeguard arrived on a rescue water craft (RWC) and threw a rescue tube to Thomas. One of his friends was then able to tie a leg rope to the tube which was now long enough to be pulled up by the bystanders. The patient was lifted to safety and Thomas continued to assist with CPR until further help arrived.
Australian Lifeguard Service, QLD In February 2018, a father and daughter were filming the younger brother surfing off Granite Bay at Noosa Heads. Sitting within the break line, they turned to head back out through the waves when a rogue wave crested early and knocked the pair from the Jet Ski. The pair approached the Jet Ski and attempted to restart the engine, however, another wave broke, separating them and forcing them into a rocky alcove. James Cervi, first on the scene, was standing on the rocks. He then entered the water to support the young woman while shouting commands through the waves to the father. James held onto the woman, using his body weight to pull her under the breaking waves, in an attempt to protect her. After 20 minutes of holding the young woman, the pair were washed close enough to the rocks to be assisted onto the shelf by bystanders. James’ calm demeanour and experience saved the girl’s life.
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EXERCISING DURING TREATMENT FOR HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA Adam Veli is a strength and performance coach who has recently completed his final stages of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He sat down with Sport Health’s Jorden Merrilees to discuss how exercise has helped him since learning of his diagnosis.
Cancer diagnoses can come at unexpected times. For Adam Veli, this was no exception. On learning of his diagnosis, he was just a week and a half into a new job as strength and conditioning coach and GPS data analyst for the AFL Umpires. Experiencing abnormalities in his physical health, Adam visited a GP where he was prescribed and treated for pneumonia. “I was originally diagnosed with pneumonia. This was correct, however it turned out that the strong antibiotics given to me by the doctor proved to be unsuccessful. From there, a series of tests were undertaken, which started on a Wednesday and after a week of going in and out of the doctors, came back to determine
“There were times I certainly would have preferred to stay on the couch when I really was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. But just getting out for a walk led to a boost in physical and mental energies and that rush of endorphins. Exercise in general, whether battling cancer or not, I think is crucial to an individual’s health. I know I felt better after I exercised.” 44 AU S T R A L I A N L IF EGUA R D M AG A ZINE
I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.” Adam in fact, had advanced stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “Being a male aged between 20 and 30 years of age, I fell right into the typical demographic for diagnosed patients.” Adam approached the diagnosis with a strong mindset. “I was actually quite confident with beating the cancer. Even though I had been diagnosed with severe stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I still knew it was curable.” He was prescribed a chemotherapy treatment called Escalated BEACOPP, “This stands for the different types of drugs that will go through the body.” Veli explained. When discussing treatment with his doctor, exercise was never involved in the conversation. “Chemotherapy was always the form of treatment that was going to work and the only one that I was going to need. Exercise was never spoken about, either as a positive or a negative” Veli said. Towards the end of his first cycle of chemotherapy, Adam began to seriously look into exercise and the benefits it had in treating cancer after being hospitalised during this first phase of treatment. He wasn’t handling the dosage of chemo and began to feel weak, nauseous, and had general struggles with receiving the treatment. This led doctors involved in his care to consider reducing his dosage.
During this time, Adam a graduate with a Master of Exercise, found solace in his recorded Master’s lectures. It was in those lectures where he heard Professor Rob Newton (Edith Cowan University) talk about the numerous benefits of exercise in helping cancer patients during their treatment cycles. Through a prior internship at the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), Adam made contact with Head of Physical Preparation, Dr Harry Brennan. Contact with Harry led him to eventually reach out to Dr Nicolas Hart, an academic at Edith Cowan University who has
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conducted a great deal of research into the benefits of exercise in cancer patients. Through email contact with Dr Hart, Adam received a lengthy explanation of the many benefits exercise could have during his chemotherapy treatment. “I still read that email regularly to remind me of the benefits of exercise.” Dr Hart also mentioned how being active can help circulate the chemo around the body better which in turn, helps the chemotherapy be more effective. “If you cannot handle the chemotherapy, they either reduce the dosage or completely stop the treatment altogether,” Veli explained. Two weeks into his first cycle of chemotherapy following his release from hospital, Adam began his exercise regime. Although possessing a wealth of knowledge on the matters of conditioning and strength training, Adam sought the recommendations of Dr Hart who suggested he do three resistance trainings and two aerobic/high-intensity interval activities per week. “I started with light exercise. My first session in the gym, I just did three sets of body exercises. This was really funny for me, as I pulled up sore from this. This was strange because prior to diagnosis, I was fit and strong in the gym. I actually was bragging to my mates at points saying look at me I’m getting sore from benching the bar.” Adam has not stopped his training and has continued for more than five months now. Since beginning his exercise regime, Adam has noticed increased physical and mental energy.
“I strongly believe that through exercise you have a better chance of maintaining your dosage or even giving yourself the ability to increase through the cycles, providing much more of a chance of being cured of the cancer altogether and making it easier to fight,” Veli said. The periods in which Adam described he was feeling mentally low and physically fatigued, could have led him to keep himself on the couch or in bed. However, an open mind and a willingness to exercise led him to get out and be active, despite how he was feeling. “There were times I certainly would have preferred to stay on the couch when I really was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. But just getting out for a walk led to a boost in physical and mental energies and that rush of endorphins. Exercise in general, whether battling cancer or not, I think is crucial to an individual’s health. I know I felt better after I exercised.” Because of his own experiences, coupled with the compelling evidence on the benefits of exercise in cancer patients, Veli is in support of doctors and others on the same journey, to look at incorporating exercise in treating cancer. “I truly believe that given the overwhelming established and proven research on the benefits exercise has to offer for cancer patients, it would be almost negligent for oncologists and doctors to not at least discuss the benefits exercise has to offer for patients who are about to embark on their battle with cancer. It is that powerful and effective!” Veli described. Adam finished up telling his story by quoting Dr. Prue Cormie, a researcher from Australian Catholic University. “She mentioned in her recent podcast that if exercise could be encapsulated in pill form, every doctor and oncologist would be prescribing this to their patients, and pharmaceutical companies would be launching this wonder drug.’ It really summed up a powerful message to me as to how beneficial exercise is to cancer patients.” The Australian Cancer Council has a wealth of resources on exercise during cancer treatment. For more information, visit: www.cancercouncil.com. au/cancer-information/exercise-cancer/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jorden Merrilees is the Copy Editor at SMA. He received his degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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WHAT THE ELITE EAT
AND HOW WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM Dietician Bonnie Hancock shares her tips on how you can improve your nutrition habits for performance or simply improve health and quality of life. Bonnie works with the Australian Life Saving Team to support them before, during and after race days and maintain peak performance. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in developing nutrition recommendations for a sporting team is the variability among athletes in terms of body composition goals, specific events being contested, food preferences and other individual factors that may affect dietary needs. When developing the nutrition requirements for an elite athlete, a dietitian also needs to consider those who require power and speed, those who target longer events such as the Ironperson or middle-distance swimmer, and others that compete in both speed and endurance events. Regardless of the many variations between competitors and races, all athletes require sustenance to perform successively and at a high standard. This is where nutrition can greatly impact performance. A dietitianâ€™s main purpose is to educate and inform athletes on the best way to fuel their bodies pre, during and post-race day. Many athletes have a good understanding of which foods they should be consuming when training and racing, however sometimes this can be deprioritised due to fatigue or
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focus being placed on other aspects of training. For this reason, all foods and fluids are now prepared and ready for the Australian Life Saving Team at competitions and during the days leading into it. This strategy has worked well since being introduced and allows the athletes to have access to the specific foods they need to perform optimally, without having the added stress of sourcing them out. However, for most people who participate in training and competition, or simply enjoy being active and healthy, the idea of having a dietitian on hand is not realistic. Having the responsibility to prepare and consume good food can be daunting and timely. Many people are aware of what a healthy diet entails, but perhaps lack a detailed understanding of sports nutrition principles, such as optimal timing and sources. So, what areas should you focus on when wanting to improve your performance, or to simply improve health and quality of life?
HYDRATION- DRINK UP!
An athlete is recommended to have 2.5 litres of fluid per day, with more required in high temperatures or under a heavy training load. During competition and training camps, it is common practice for the Australian team to weigh-in before and after a session; for the amount of weight that is lost during that period, the athlete aims to replace double this amount in fluid. For example, if 1kg is lost during an intense pool session, a minimum of 2 litres of fluid should be consumed over the next few hours. Electrolyte supplements can also be an effective way to replace salts lost during training or competing. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are lost in our sweat, and major losses can impact performance. Some electrolyte supplements also contain carbohydrate, which can replenish glucose, or energy stores, during a session or between races. For the weekend warrior, participating in light to moderate physical activity, a minimum of 1.5 litres per day is recommended. Electrolyte supplements or sports drinks should only be used during warm weather or intense exercise that lasts longer than an hour. Many people consume inadequate amounts of water so a good place to start with hydration is to follow these recommendations and monitor for signs of dehydration, such as headaches and concentrated urine.
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TIMING OF FOOD
One of the aspects most overlooked when it comes to sports nutrition is the timing of foods around training and competitions. Athletes may have preferences for taste and tolerance, but the guidelines regarding timing remain the same. Before training, a carbohydrate source is recommended to fuel the body for performance. This should be consumed approximately 30 minutes prior to training and be soft-textured for ease of digestion. Some examples include a banana or melon, crackers or rice cakes, a honey sandwich or perhaps an oat bar. If an athlete struggles to consume food early in the morning, a drink containing carbohydrate can substitute. During training, fluid intake is highly important and with electrolyte supplements if appropriate. Carbohydrate gels can also be consumed during an endurance session. They can be taken every 30 minutes or between events to deliver glucose to the working muscles and brain.
Post training, it is recommended to have a source of protein (minimum 20g) within 30 minutes of finishing activity. This helps to replenish protein stores, reduce recovery time and minimise muscle soreness. The post workout meal should also include carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. However, if the athlete canâ€™t prepare a meal within this period, a snack containing both protein and carbohydrate will suffice. Some good examples are yoghurt, nuts with dried fruit, a homemade protein ball or an Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority (ASADA) approved protein shake. The above recommendations can also be applied to the recreational athlete. Unless participating in intense exercise of a significant duration, it is not necessary to use supplements as the required nutrients can easily be derived from natural food sources. Eating smaller portions and more frequently is another principle that can support performance. This can be applied on non-workout days and even for those who lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle. The ideal gap between meals and snacks is no more than 3-4 hours and should consist of healthy foods. 02
A vital component of an athleteâ€™s diet is plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as these essential vitamins and minerals can help reduce the risk of illness and injury. Whilst athletes are advised to exceed the daily recommended intake of 2 fruits and 5 vegetables per day, only 2-3% of the general population are meeting these recommendations. This means that both athletes and non-athletes are missing vital nutrients. We should aim to consume fruit and vegetables that are fresh or frozen at peak freshness, and those which are rich in colour, smell and flavour. Fresh and ripe produce have the largest antioxidant quota for immune function. Many studies have shown a direct relationship between adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables and a decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
NO TWO INDIVIDUALS ARE THE SAME
In terms of athletes, no two are the same and it can take some trial and error to figure out foods which best serve the body in terms of performance and recovery. The same can be said for the general population. Whether itâ€™s allergies or intolerances to certain foods, medical conditions or the way we digest certain foods, every person will have different preferences and needs when it comes to their own diet.
01 Kendrick Louis 02 Elizabeth Forsyth Photos courtesy of SLSA
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MEETING DAILY REQUIREMENTS
If you are struggling to find what foods work for you, it can be highly beneficial to see an accredited practising dietitian. They can help you identify the foods which can best support your health and other fitness goals.
CHECKING YOURSELF OUT?
THAT’S NOTHING TO BE SHAMED OF! Finding cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment and long-term survival. You know yourself better than anyone and familiarising yourself with these symptoms may be the best prevention strategy of all.
A CANCER PREVENTION PLAN
One-third of cancer deaths in Australia are caused by preventable risk factors such as smoking, limited physical activity, poor diet, sun exposure or not taking part in screening programs. Cancer Council Australia recommends some simple prevention measures that can reduce your cancer risk, including the subtle art of checking yourself out.
Things to look for: ●● ●●
●● ●● ●●
lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal coughs that don’t go away or show blood, a hoarseness that hangs around weight loss that can’t be explained moles that have changed shape, size or colour, or bleed, or an inflamed skin sore that hasn’t healed blood in a bowel motion persistent changes in toilet habits these symptoms are often related to more common, less serious health problems. However, if you notice any unusual changes, or these symptoms persist, visit your doctor. In addition, males should take notice of: unusual changes in your testicles changes in shape, consistency or lumpiness ●● urinary problems or changes ●●
Females should also look for: unusual changes in your breasts - lumps, thickening, unusual discharge, nipples that suddenly turn inwards, changes in shape, colour or unusual pain ●● any loss of blood, even a few spots between periods or after they stop ●● persistent abdominal pain or bloating. ●●
SCREENING FOR BOWEL CANCER
Early detection of bowel cancer greatly improves chances of successful treatment. Your risk of bowel cancer increases with age. If you are over 50, you should be tested for bowel cancer every two years.
The National Bowel Cancer Screening program uses the faecal occult blood test (FOBT) to detect hidden blood in bowel motions. People without symptoms aged 50 to 74 are mailed a free kit and can do the test at home. From 2020, all Australians aged 50 to 74 will be offered the test free every two years. Some people have known risk factors that put them at increased risk. If you do, your doctor will talk to you about regular surveillance.
GENTS, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT PROSTATE SCREENING
The cause of prostate cancer is not known and there is no single, simple test to detect prostate cancer. Prostate cancer may be suspected if a blood test to check your prostate specific antigen (PSA) is above normal levels for your age. If you have no symptoms and are thinking about having a PSA test, consider the risks and benefits. You need to balance the benefit of detecting a prostate cancer early against the risk that detection and treatment may not be necessary. Treatment may affect your lifestyle including sexual function, but may also save your life. Make your own decision about whether to be tested after discussion with your doctor. Ensure you get good quality information to make an informed decision.
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Noticed any changes in your testicles? Although testicular cancer is rare, it is one of the most common cancers in men aged between 15 and 45 years. It is also one of the most curable cancers if found early. The causes of this cancer are unclear, but men who have had an undescended testicle are at increased risk. Be aware of what is normal for you and if you see or feel any changes, see your doctor. Donâ€™t let embarrassment get in the way of your health.
Check for early breast cancer If you are over 40 you can have a free BreastScreen Australia mammogram (breast x-ray) every two years. Mammograms look for early breast cancers in women without symptoms. Regular mammograms can reduce your risk of breast cancer death by 25%, particularly women in the 50-69 age group for whom benefit is highest.
Have a regular Cervical Screening test Have a Cervical Screening Test every five years from the age of 25. If you have previously had a Pap smear test, you should have your first HPV screening test two years after your last pap test. If the test is negative for HPV, you can wait five years before your next test. This replaces the Pap smear test previously used under the National Cervical Screening Program. While the procedure is similar to the Pap smear, the renewed National Cervical Screening Program now tests for the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. The renewed National Cervical Screening Program has been effective from 1 December 2017. In Australia, women can access a vaccine that can protect against the cause of most cervical cancers, HPV. However, the vaccines do not protect against all HPV types that cause cervical cancers, therefore all vaccinated women will still need regular Cervical Screening Tests. There are currently no screening tests for ovarian, uterine, endometrial, vulvar or vaginal cancers. Fortunately, these cancers are very rare. Be aware of what is normal for you and if you notice any changes or symptoms that persist, visit your doctor. Some people have known risk factors which put them at increased risk. If you do, your doctor will talk to you about regular surveillance.
LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION OR SUPPORT? Cancer Council: 13 11 20
HPV vaccine: www.hpvvaccine.org.au
Cancer Australia: www.canceraustralia.gov.au
BreastScreen Australia: 13 20 50 www.cancerscreening.gov.au
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Information Line: 1800 118 868 www.cancerscreening.gov.au
Australian Prostate Cancer Collaboration: www.prostatehealth.org.au
Published with permission from Cancer Council Australia. 50 AU S T R A L I A N L IF EGUA R D M AG A ZINE
WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK Stop smoking lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Be SunSmart protect yourself in the sun and take care not to burn. Stay in shape aim for a healthy body weight. Move your body be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most or all days. Eat for health choose a varied diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and limit your intake of red meat. Limit alcohol no more than two standard drinks a day (recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council) and try one or two alcohol-free days a week.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor.
MANAGING STRESS THROUGH MOVEMENT
Anelia Mintcheva, personal trainer and owner of Strong and Serene, talks about the importance of exercise and meditation for reducing stress and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
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Experiencing stress can be described as a sub optimal condition. The signs and symptoms may be rapid and short-term or chronic and long-term. Everyone experiences stress in different capacities however, our bodies are not made to handle stress in large quantities. Understanding the effects of stress on your body can help you identify different contributors and when to apply some easy reduction techniques.
WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BODY WHEN STRESSED?
Stress response, often referred to as the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction, is your body’s rapid and automatic switch into high gear. When stress is encountered, the hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of the brain, triggers an alarm system in the body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, the system prompts the adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones— the most abundant being adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and is beneficial for very short bursts of energy, such as running away from or combatting a threat. Cortisol levels normally fluctuate throughout the day in a circadian rhythm, peaking at around 8 AM and troughing around 4 AM. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the stress response is activated so often that the body does not always have a chance to return to a normal relaxed state. Experiencing long periods of stress that require the adrenals to produce cortisol too often can eventually burn them out. This may lead to adrenal fatigue, and in some circumstances, the adrenals will stop producing cortisol all together. While cortisol secretion is vital to both health and survival, it is also very important that bodily functions and cortisol levels return to normal following a stressful event. This is known as the relaxation response and what I primarily deal with at Strong and Serene.
“Bringing awareness to movement, while also focussing on relaxation, can help to achieve an optimal balanced state. Experiencing exercise-related stress with this approach also teaches you how to regulate stress response through the fundamentals of meditation.”
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THE SCIENCE BEHIND MEDITATION
Meditation has been studied scientifically and clinically over time, and both methods have found favourable health benefits related to stress management and sleep. After a meditation practice, serum cortisol levels, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure and pulse rates are shown to be significantly reduced. Further, respiration rate and symptoms of anxiety, anger, hopelessness and neuroticism have also been observed to decrease. Meditation is a way to bring awareness to the ongoing activity in the mind that happens without any effort of consciousness. Our thoughts can create unnecessary stress and anxiety, even if there is no real threat at hand. Meditation produces a calming effect on the nervous system, and innately reduces stress. The science of such benefits has been well documented over the last 20 years; neuroscience studies have shown that meditation increases gray matter in our brain— a component of the central nervous system that increases intelligence, regulates emotions and helps to retain information. It also improves our emotional intelligence, making us better at connecting with others.
WHERE TO BEGIN
Many people will quickly give up meditation because dealing with a busy mind can be challenging. However, once this is mastered meditation allows you to be more present, bringing awareness to yourself and better deal with incessant thoughts. Practicing meditation does not require you to be sedentary for lengthy periods, though feeling relaxed, comfortable and content will aid in experiencing the full benefits. To prepare for meditation it can help to move your body, such as stretching and mobilising muscles and joints. If you are also ready to try meditation, there are many apps or courses that you can start with. If you would like to start on your own, I recommend the Meditation Timer app, which has guided meditations, music and other materials for mental health and wellbeing support. Alternatively, my Strong and Serene corporate sessions are a great place to start. We go through mobility stretches, muscle activations, strength exercises and a guided meditation. These sessions are designed to achieve mental clarity, alertness and stress reduction. Email for more information or group bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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MOVING STRETCHES FOR RELAXATION Here are some suggested moving stretches that improve posture and prepare the body for a seated meditation. These movements are best done in the morning or before starting the day.
01. Starting in a downward dog position, take your time to move into a straight back position, bending the knees slightly if needed. Spread your fingers to protect the wrists and imagine yourself pushing the ground away. Lift one leg up towards the sky, keeping the muscles active.
02. Keep your hips and shoulders straight as you start to bend the knee in the air. Keep lifting the hips upwards for an opening stretch. Hold this position for a slow count to five.
03. Lower your leg and place the foot in front of you on the outside of your hand. Position yourself in a low lunge, keeping your front foot flat and the back one active on the ball of the foot. Take four slow bounces to feel a deep stretch in the hip flexor. 04. Come onto your fingertips and start to straighten the front leg as you flatten the back foot to the ground. Move in and out of this position (bend then straighten) three times so you feel a gentle hamstring stretch.
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â€œThis flow of movements creates heat in the body to wake you up and prepare for a sitting meditation.â€?
05. Return to a low lunge and take the same arm as the front leg up towards the sky. Rotate through the chest, keeping it open and look up to the sky. Make sure the shoulders are relaxed and your neck elongated.
06. Bend the outstretched arm and rest your hand behind your head, keeping the chest open.
07. Keeping the shape of your arm and body, start to bend through your upper back to bring the elbow towards the front ankle.
08 Come back up as you open the chest again and extend the top arm back up towards the sky. Repeat stretches 05-08 three times before starting the entire sequence on the other side.
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REPEAT... Repeat this moving sequence 3-5 times on each side. Movement like this helps increase range of motion by improving flexibility and mobility in joints and muscles.
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