Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club surf sports director Elaine Walker recounts passion for surf life saving

TAKING ON THE WORLD: Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC member Elaine Walker before competing at world titles in November in 2018.
TAKING ON THE WORLD: Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC member Elaine Walker before competing at world titles in November in 2018.

"You're never too old to learn and you don't have to have done something your whole life to be great at it," says Wauchope-Bonny Hills surf sports director Elaine Walker.

The former Townsville now Port Macquarie resident has risen through the ranks of the Surf Life Saving club after initially joining in 2008 at age 38.

She only knew breaststroke at the time and trained herself in freestyle to pass the Bronze Medallion minimum standard course for a qualified lifesaver.

"I could swim but I could only swim breaststroke. I had to learn how to swim freestyle and I probably wasn't very fit at all, it was a good motivator to get fit," Mrs Walker said.

"I knew that I had to be able to do this 800 metre pool swim in nine minutes and I'd worry about the rest of the stuff later on when I got to it. I took it one step at a time and got there in the end.

"I learnt the strokes myself and went to the pool. I had a friend who came along a few times and gave me a few pointers.

"It took me the whole of my first season to get there. It took three or four timing runs to pass the course and go to the next stage. It was quite an accomplishment."

AT THE BEACH: Elaine Walker (third from right) on patrol. Photo: Supplied/Elaine Walker.

AT THE BEACH: Elaine Walker (third from right) on patrol. Photo: Supplied/Elaine Walker.

Mrs Walker said she originally decided to try her hand at becoming surf lifesaver as a hobby to keep occupied on weekends, while working as a dentist in Wauchope and Port Macquarie.

"I needed something to do over the weekends and I went to watch my friend row boats at the beach. That was quite exciting and I thought it might be a good thing to do," she said.

"I'd volunteered for girl guides so I knew about volunteering and years before I'd done my pool bronze medallion when I was a teenager.

"I started out just learning to paddle surfski and it has continued for 12 years. I gradually improved enough to start going to compete in carnivals.

"During my time at the club I have made a couple of rescues, made vice captain of my patrol, finished the inflatable rescue boat crew, first aid and inflatable rescue boat driver courses.

"Probably the best moment was winning my individual bronze medal at the Aussie Championships last season and going to the World Champions in Adelaide in 2018. We won bronze in the ski relay there.

"It sounds like a lot but it's just sort of evolved over the years, taking on one thing after another."

AT THE CLUB: Elaine Walker coaching a group of ski paddlers. Photo: Supplied/Elaine Walker.

AT THE CLUB: Elaine Walker coaching a group of ski paddlers. Photo: Supplied/Elaine Walker.

Mrs Walker said she attributes the achievements to a strong competitive streak and a passion for teaching the younger kids at the club.

Mrs Walker is one of many volunteers at Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC who is taking part in the 24 hour row for mental health challenge on August 22 and 23. The Club has so far raised $1,776.

You can support the 24 row by donating HERE.

CHAMPION: Elaine Walker with a bronze medal for the womens masters 45-49 yrs single ski at Aussies in 2019. Photo: Supplied/Elaine Walker.

CHAMPION: Elaine Walker with a bronze medal for the womens masters 45-49 yrs single ski at Aussies in 2019. Photo: Supplied/Elaine Walker.

What else is making news?

While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.

This story Inspiring amateur swimmer now surf club's leading light first appeared on Camden Haven Courier.