My first contact with Surf Life Saving was the same as many people’s. I had a child who attended most Sunday mornings. I grew up in the outback mining town of Mount Isa. Needless to say not much surf to save lives from. We have been members of Southport Surf Life Saving Club for over 10 years now. I must say that for most those years I have been happy to stand in the background and do the occasional odd job. Gillian however has always been involved, looking after State squads, organising uniforms and even for the last couple of years being an Age Manager.

About 4 years ago I decided to do my bronze medallion, this was by no means an easy goal for me. In fact it took me 8 months to get my weight down and my fitness high enough to give the Bronze Medallion course a go. My other Goal for the year was to complete the “Bridge To Brisbane” 10k run. So on the Saturday I did my 400 Metre swim in 7.20 minutes and on the Sunday I did the Run in 1 hour 18 minutes. All with a bad cold.

On the Wednesday of the second week of the Course I was feeling better so I decided to do a bit of board training before First aid Class. I was and still am very tentative on a board. I managed to get dumped in the wave break zone and got smashed by 5 consecutive waves. I managed to drag myself into shore only to find a bus load of Japanese tourists taking photos of each other while standing on my rescue board. I had learned a valuable lesson. Never let go of the board!

It wasn’t till the next day that I felt the pain in my ribs. I figured I had torn the Rib cartilage because I couldn’t recall getting a hit there. I figured it would heal quickly enough so I decided to train through the pain and keep going. Unfortunately it didn’t heal. I couldn’t swim or run. By the end of the seventh week I was frantic. The next Saturday I had to do my Run Swim Run and I hadn’t trained for 5 weeks. I went to the Head instructor and told him how worried I was. He calmed me down and said that they knew of my predicament and they would tell the Assessors of my injury.

Finally I went to the Doctors. She sent me for an x-ray, but the results wouldn’t be ready until the Monday.

So the big day arrived. We all went down and had a look at the Surf. It was a beautiful God Coast day with a 2 foot swell. You can’t get better than that! I waded in to check the sweep. It was northerly but not too strong. A few of the others felt that the needed to enter 20 or so metres down the beach to compensate. “No way” I thought I’m going straight at the Can. I was right! I was first to the Can. I stopped and looked back to see if everyone was okay, Surf Life Saving is all about helping each other, but everyone was fine. All I had to do now was use the sweep to push me down to the second Can and try not to hurt my Rib catching a wave in. I definitely wasn’t first to finish, but I didn’t care. It’s not about that. The rest of the exams didn’t require as much exertion and I did okay at most of them.

On the Monday I called the Doctor for the results of the X-Ray. I had broken the Rib. To this day I still have no idea how. I have a theory that when the board was ripped out of my hands my elbow smashed into my ribs so hard it cracked. But I have no way of knowing.

Red and Yellow Flag shows that the area is saf...

Image via Wikipedia

So what do I do now? How does Surf Life Saving keep me healthy with the Broken bones and stuff? Firstly I do patrol every 4 weeks so I need to keep a bit fit. Every year I need to redo the Run Swim Run, I have a goal! Every September I need to be fit enough to finish it. Every Sunday I go and help Kids learn and do amazing things at the club, I love helping them. I get an amazing sense of well-being from helping people on the beach and in the surf. And I have made a lot of friends who come from all walks of life and have an amazing variety of careers.

All of this makes me feel pretty damned good. Thank you Surf Life Saving

I still need to tell you about my last Run Swim Run! Maybe next time.