What a fabulously typical weekend of Victorian weather to welcome Courtney (or Courtz as she prefers to be known).  It was just the conditions our competitors battle so often at the beach throughout the racing season. Gusty squalls, bursts of pelting rain and sprinklings of sunshine were the theme of the day.

Hampton LSC played host to us most of the weekend and we would like to thank our ‘sister club’ for their hospitality.  Saturday morning started with an extremely well attended requal.  The wild water conditions on the bay were a challenge to many of us seasoned lifesavers.  To set the scene, we needed to postpone our IRB awards as the drivers and crews battled 35 knot winds and a swell period of about a second.  We couldn’t drain water from the duck faster than the choppy shore break dumped more in!!

This certainly wasn’t going to deter the members of our junior competition team who had their wetsuits on, ready to go, as the older members made their way back to warm showers.  Courtney was amazingly engaging, imparting tips to our younger members as they took the opportunity to ‘surf the bay’ at Hampton.  Even the channel 7 news crew was there to witness the opening event of our summer lifesaving season.  Club Captain Matt Perrott imparted some pearls of wisdom to the viewing public, along with U13 Xavier Winnett, who spoke with confidence about the importance of staying safe in the water.

Session two was for our older youth competitors who started with a round circle discussion, hearing Courtney’s story of life as an elite athlete.  We heard how Portsea is a special place for her; recalling the day of the Professional Iron Race at the back beach, nine foot surf, and her first win on the professional ironwoman circuit – and a win that saw her go on to take out the series.  Next it was time to hear the stories of our athletes, their favourite events, what they enjoy about lifesaving and their goals for the upcoming season.  Courtney’s focus is on the friendship that sport brings, along with both community and individual goal setting. When it was time to hit the water in the afternoon, conditions had settled somewhat leaving waves that needed to be surfed.  For this early in the season, it was very impressive to witness the surf skills of our youth competitors, most of whom have come through our junior competition team.

Sunday saw us back at Hampton again, Courtney, in her ‘high viz’ pink deck coat stood out on the beach as she again embraced the conditions and encouraged, coached and motivated our teams of young lifesavers.  As she ran down to the water’s edge to board handle for Tom Regan, camera’s snapped pics to remember.

The feedback from the athletes could not have been more positive.  The social chat groups were a buzz of hype about how awesome the days had been.  We finished off with sausage sizzles courtesy of the Hampton members, photo poses with boxes of Nutrigrain, and an excitement about being back on the boards and in the water as the summer season opens again.

Thankyou to Marni Jacka for arranging the weekend logistics and hosting Courtney, and to the PSLS Club for supporting this initiative.  We look forward to having Courtz join us again at Portsea on the weekend between Christmas and New Year, where she will be welcomed back to the familiar stomping ground of the Mt Levi Beach and our amazing new clubhouse perched high on the cliff above.  Happy old memories and fresh ones in the making as she steps into her new role as coach, mentor and ambassador to our Portsea Competition Teams.