Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club helping surf life saving NSW celebrate 40 years of women's involvement

Girl power: Lucy Monaghan, Emma Eggins, Leanne Goggin, Jesse Willis and Grace Monaghan hope to inspire the next generation of female surf life savers. Photo: Paul Jobber
Girl power: Lucy Monaghan, Emma Eggins, Leanne Goggin, Jesse Willis and Grace Monaghan hope to inspire the next generation of female surf life savers. Photo: Paul Jobber

WAUCHOPE-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club life member Leanne Goggin was one of the club's first females to line up 40 years ago aiming to secure their qualifying certificate.

This year, Goggin is one of many females celebrating the sport as Surf Life Saving Australia marks the 40th anniversary of women's active involvement.

She was almost born into the sport and wouldn't have it any other way.

"My family comes from a long tradition of surf life savers," she said.

"The legendary 'Chalky Bob' is one of our life members, my brother has been president at Wauchope-Bonny Hills and my sister has been heavily involved so I guess surf life saving ran in the blood.

"As soon as women were allowed, we jumped at it and got our own qualifications to join in and 40 years on I'm still very much involved."

She became the club's second female life member in 2008 after Jill Trotter was awarded the prestigious honour.

"It's an amazing organisation to be involved in, it's a healthy lifestyle ... why not hang out at the beach and swim around those cans with those kids," she said.

"As far as staying involved, it was all about community and I like that give-back feeling from sticking on the red and yellow cap and patrolling."

So, what's the level of involvement for women in the club hierarchy? Women now comprise some 60 per cent of the club's executive committee roles, says Goggin.

I think women are strong and amazing and taking on heaps of leadership roles and young girls are now saying they can do anything.

Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Life Saving Club life member Leanne Goggin

"I think women are strong and amazing and taking on heaps of leadership roles and young girls are now saying they can do anything," Goggin said.

"The women's boats are the same weight and the skis are the same weight as the boys."

The club's under-23 women's surfboat crew hope to inspire the next generation of female surf lifesavers in coming years as they prepare to enter another year of competition.

Crew member Grace Monaghan said the sport was one of the few that was played on a level playing field regardless of the gender's competing.

"At boat carnivals now, the ratio is nearly 50-50 so I think it's one of the only sports where girls compete in the same amount of races and have the same distance as male competitors," she said.

Sister Lucy said "it was pretty cool that we can do what the boys can do".

Teammate Emma Eggins said being able to row had made her realise a lot of things about herself.

"I wouldn't have it any other way," she said.

"It's a good mental game because you've got to get past the point of the break and it's all scary so you've just got to do it."

This story Wauchope-Bonny Hills' ladies prepare to inspire next generation first appeared on Wauchope Gazette.

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