Far South Coast local named Junior Lifesaver of the Year

April 29, 2024 8:09 am in by

Zara Hall of Moruya Surf Life Saving Club and Archie Weir of Kiama Downs SLSC have been named the NSW Junior Lifesavers of the Year after three days of team building and leadership development on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

After placing 5th in the the Under 14’s Female Beach Flags at the State Surf Life Saving Age Championships in March, then bringing home a Silver medal at this year’s Australian Youth Surf Life Saving Championships on the Sunshine Coast earlier this month, Hall has continued her amazing achievements with this announcement on Friday (April 26).

Formally recognised during a presentation ceremony on Friday morning, Zara and Archie were two in a group of 22 eager 14-year-olds who came from each of the 11 branches across NSW, having been acknowledged themselves as Junior Lifesavers of the Year for their region.

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The pair represented the South Coast and Far South Coast with distinction, proving that NSW is blessed with talented young lifesavers along the entire coastline.

Maxim Savchencko-Ray, from Bermagui SLSC was the other finalist representing the Far South Coast.

Knowing well that they were privileged to be among a very worthy group, all of whom could have been named as winners, Zara and Archie were thrilled.

“I did not expect to win and I was so surprised when I got it,” Zara said.

“I went through all the emotions, I was nervous, I was excited, but it means so much to me to represent the Far South Coast and my club, Moruya here.”

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“I’m ecstatic, it’s been a bit of a dream of mine for a while. I’ve been in lifesaving since I was a little Nipper and it means so much to come here to this camp and be with likeminded people, it’s really expanding my horizons,” Archie added.

An enthusiastic and motivated lifesaver with personality bubbling well above the surface, Zara is a passionate individual who gives so much to her club, Moruya, where she actively supports the Same Wave program for all-inclusive lifesaving and passes on her knowledge to younger members.

Judges noted she places a strong value on education, hoping to establish a program at her club that raises awareness of the beach to those visiting from inland.

“It makes me so happy to represent Moruya when I think about the things the club is a part of, like the Same Wave program,” Zara said.

“I love just being at the ocean, around the club, I love competing, I love patrolling, I love everything about Surf Life Saving.”

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Junior lifesaver finalists engaged in a three-day team building and leadership development program at Collaroy, which culminated in Zara and Archie being selected as the NSW Junior Lifesavers of the Year.

“I enjoyed learning about who we were and what we want to be as lifesavers, what our future is, we had some talks on that” Zara said.

“It’s been amazing, and I want to thank all the facilitators who made it possible.”

“It feels like it’s gone way too fast, but it’s been incredible, and I loved it,” Archie added.

“The ice bath was definitely a highlight.”

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“We got to really learn and understand where everybody comes from and what they do, and it was a big part of our development.”

Matt Young, Executive General Manager of Tourism for Ingenia Holiday Parks, said being involved in a program now in its 34th year gave them great pride.

“We have a responsibility to ensure the guests who come and stay with us go home happy and having had a safe trip, and part of that is working with Surf Life Saving NSW and helping to grow the new generation of lifesavers,” he said.

“I come here at the end of the event really excited to speak to everyone who has participated. They’re all enthusiastic, and it’s great to see this generation coming through so focussed on giving back to the community.”


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Far South Coast – Maxim Savchencko-Ray, Bermagui SLSC

Far South Coast – Zara Hall, Moruya SLSC

South Coast – Archie Weir, Kiama Downs SLSC

South Coast – Poppy Nelson, Kiama SLSC

Illawarra – Audrey Steffan, Scarborough Wombarra SLSC

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Illawarra – William Papandreas, Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC

Far North Coast – Kayden Muller, Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC

Far North Coast – Abigail Matthews, Lennox Head-Alstonville SLSC

North Coast – James Freeman, Bellinger Valley-North Beach SLSC

North Coast – Lily-Mei Wong, Woolgoolga SLSC

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Mid North Coast – Cooper Walmsley, Hat Head SLSC

Mid North Coast – Sienna Ward, Hat Head SLSC

Lower North Coast – Blake Stewart, Crowdy Head SLSC

Lower North Coast – Calista Elmer, Crowdy Head SLSC

Hunter – Max Mietzel, Newcastle SLSC

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Hunter – Abbey Keighran, Tea Gardens Hawks Nest SLSC

Central Coast – Seamus Devenish Meares, Wamberal SLSC

Central Coast – Remy Avis, North Avoca SLSC

Sydney Northern Beaches – Louis Stapf-Giannakis, Freshwater SLSC

Sydney Northern Beaches – Riley Atkinson, Mona Vale SLSC

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Sydney – Jack Castles, Bondi SBLSC

Sydney – Ebony Springall, North Cronulla SLSC

Images: Moruya SLSC, SLS NSW