Volunteer Profile: Will McKenna & Freddie Dripps

Will (14) and Freddie (13) met on the beach as nippers and have developed through lifesaving together – becoming patrolling members for Jan Juc SLSC this year.


When did you start participating in lifesaving and how did you first become involved?

FD: I started at Anglesea SLSC when I was six years old. I became involved with the club because my family stayed at Anglesea over summer and we enjoyed going to the beach. A year later, I started training with Jan Juc because we had good friends there and they offered the longer surf sports program. This is where I first met Will.

WM: I first started in under 8s at Jan Juc SLSC. My family had been involved with the club for a long time and my aunty once won Victorian Nipper of the Year, so I had to give it a crack.

What was it about the nippers program that you most enjoyed when you were younger?

FD: I loved playing games that helped you learn how to do different events like flags and relays. At the time I didn’t realise it was teaching these skills because it was all made into fun activities. I made lots of friends through nippers at both Anglesea and Jan Juc.

WM: The reason that I enjoyed nippers over most other sports was the ocean and the waves. The ocean is always changing and is quite unpredictable but lifesaving taught me how to read the ocean and know what it is doing.

You have climbed up the ranks of your club together. How does it feel to be a patrolling member now, after starting off as nippers together?

FD:  It doesn’t really feel like a lot has changed in terms of hanging around the club and being with my mates. I guess I have a lot more knowledge around first aid and beach management now and I reckon more responsibility comes with that.

WM:  When we were young nippers we looked up to the older kids on patrol and we would ride around in the beach gator. Now that we are patrolling and keeping our beaches safe it is so cool.

What are some of your current responsibilities at your club?

FD:  As the oldest age group in the junior competition team, our coaches keep telling us how we are role models to the younger nippers and how they look up to us. This is a big responsibility because they may also want to be future lifesavers too. At the moment we are helping with the Surf Dd program as water safety and mentors.

WM: Our responsibilities include participating in beach patrols as well as setting a good example for the younger kids coming up through lifesaving.

What do you enjoy most about being involved in lifesaving? Why would you recommend it to others?

FD:  I most enjoy the friendship I’ve made and spending heaps of time at the beach. I would definitely recommend it to others as you learn some great skills to help keep you safe around the water and skills that can help in other areas of life, especially with your first aid. And it’s heaps of fun.

WM: The thing that I enjoy most about lifesaving is being in an environment that is always changing. I would definitely recommend Surf Life Saving to others because it is a sport that no matter how much you train, it is anyone’s game and anything could happen. That’s why we do it!

What do you enjoy doing with your spare time outside of lifesaving?
FD: Hanging out with family and friends at the beach. I love playing musical instruments as well as playing footy in the winter and I also enjoy doing some swimming and running.

WM: In my spare time I like to surf and hang out at the beach. I also play footy, rugby and love water polo.

What advice do you have for young nippers who want to continue to progress in lifesaving?

FD: Give everything a go. Try and make some new mates. Don’t worry if you’re not the best, just keep improving on your skills. Listen to those who have plenty of experience and ask questions if you want know more. It’s not about who’s the fastest at the swim, it’s learning about the conditions and also making friends. Jan Juc is a very welcoming club so it is easy to get involved.

WM:  If you love being in the ocean and are at the beach in your spare time, you will do well. If you enjoy nippers, keep at it and you will succeed. A bit of hard work will pay off

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.