A trio of champions
THE 2011-12 Wide Bay Capricorn Branch Surf Rescue Championships at Elliott Heads on the weekend were a red-letter occasion for Bundaberg's Johnston family.
Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club youth development officer and safety officer Wendy Johnston and her two children Brodie and Abby each won their divisions of the champion lifesaver event.
Champion lifesaver is regarded as the true test of surf life saving, with assessment across six sections - surf race, rescue board and tube, and beach sprint, theory paper and resuscitations live on both a patient and a manikin.
Wendy, a dual Queensland bronze medallist last season in the surf swim and rescue tube, triumphed in the 30-39 years female category.
Brodie, who claimed state silver and national bronze in the under-15 male division last year, as well as snaring state bronze in the surf board race, stepped up to own the under-17 male age group.
Not to be outdone, Abby beat clubmate Abby Dunkley to clinch under-14 female honours.
The Bundaberg club had just three other champion lifesavers - Kellie Bailey, Emma Finnis and Rebecca Payne in the under-19, under-17 and under-15 female divisions respectively, but Hayley Bowman gave them another quinella in under-17s.
Wendy trailed Alesha Hotz, of Yeppoon, after the theory but outscored her by four points in resuscitation to finish with 94 points and win by one.
Brodie finished third in the theory but won the four surf and beach events, then sealed the title with an impressive resuscitation display, finishing with 99 points, 5.5 clear of runner-up Connor Murray, of Hervey Bay.
Abby opened up a handy lead after the theory and despite finishing second to Yeppoon's Shari Osborne in the surf race and rescue tube and to Dunkley in the sprint and third behind Dunkley and Osborne in rescue board, she secured victory in resuscitation.
She chalked up 95.5 points to defeat Dunkley by 7.5 points.
Wendy said only Brodie won the event at branch 12 months ago.
"But after his really good success at the Australian and state titles, the family decided to do it and it's just wonderful for each of us to win and I'm so, so proud," Wendy said.
"It's the first year Abby has been able to do it and this is the one I insist on as a mum - it's so beneficial as showed when Brodie and Abby were able to assist the guy who had a stroke in his front yard.
"We hope to go well at state now and we will spend a little bit more time preparing for it - hopefully Brodie and I will qualify for the Australian titles. Abby is a bit too young but hopefully she will have a bit of fun and benefit from the experience.
"We train a lot together and do a lot of preparation at home for the CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) studies and live patient assessment. Champion lifesaver is good because you don't have to be a great athlete but it's a really good one for life skills."
The host club also picked up three champion lifesaver titles with Toni Heaton the 40-plus winner, Amanda Muldoon beating the Bundaberg force of Erin Gibson, Laura Greenhalgh and Teisha Towner in open, and Liam Wootton a big 17.25-point under-14 winner over Bundaberg's Geoffrey Payne.
The other champion lifesaver spoils were shared between Yeppoon duo Matthew Cumming (30-39 years) and Patrick O'Shaughnessy (under-19), Emu Park's Brian Phelan (40-plus), and Hervey Bay's Shane Thornton (open) and Dominic Merrett, who beat Heaton's son Scott in under-15s.
Bundaberg picked up two patrol gongs - with Charles Payne, Chris Steffan, Jamie Findlay, Bailey, Greenhalgh and Martin Cole forming a winning open team, and Finnis, Gibson, Bowman and Towner to the fore in under-17 while Bowman and Jill Cremer were victorious in under-17 first aid.
Hervey Bay completed the under-15 first aid and patrol double while Tannum Sands won the open first aid.