Back in 1974, then-thirteen-year-old Bill Strachan signed up to become a member of the Ocean Grove SLSC, later qualifying in the same year for his surf rescue certificate (as it’s now known). Many qualifications followed, including being the second person in Victoria to obtain his IRB Driver certificate, as well as gold medals at both a state and national level.
The accolades haven’t stopped and already this year Bill has won Gold at the Aussies held in Perth (in the masters ski event for his age), as well as gaining satisfaction from coaching fellow Aussie bronze medallist Amanda McDonald. He’s a well-respected member of the club, helping out in the depths of winter with ski coaching, as well as behind-the-scenes on successful club-organised events, such as the Rip to River and Ocean Swim events.
Bill was made a Life Member of the club last year. Here’s his lifesaving journey:
Volunteer Role: Vice Club Captain, Ski Coach
Current Club: Ocean Grove SLSC
How long have you been involved in lifesaving? 43 years
What made you become involved in lifesaving?
To improve my surf knowledge.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
Patrolling, helping our new club captain and coaching ski paddlers from beginners to national medal winners.
What do you most enjoy about lifesaving?
I like seeing new members gain skills and improve their surf and lifesaving skills.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
The surf club gives our young people the ability to grow and acquire skills that they can use for their whole life, as well as to gain employment.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
Coaching so many different people, completing three Coolangatta Gold’s, and getting a gold medal in Ski at the Aussies.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
Football (Geelong Cats), kayaking and ocean ski racing.
What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
Every dog has his/her day – it’s so true in the surf!