Surf club on crest of a wave

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Busselton SLS have reported a 20 per cent growth this year with over 200 nippers participating in sport and older members patrolling the beach
Camera IconBusselton SLS have reported a 20 per cent growth this year with over 200 nippers participating in sport and older members patrolling the beach Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee/Jackson Lavell-Lee

Busselton Surf Life Saving Club has recorded a 20 per cent member increase in the past year, thanks to their new headquarters at the Busselton Youth and Community Activities Building.

The building was opened in November 2017 and, in the year since, the club has grown to 400 members including 200 nippers (five to 13-year-olds) and 200 members aged 13 or older.

The oldest member is Regie, who is turning 70 this year.

Busselton SLS Director of Administration Education and External Water Safety, Helen Rabjones, said she spent 15 years working with the council and it was great to see a development for surf life saving on the foreshore.

“The building and the facilities have had a real growth influx for us. We predicted about 10 per cent over a couple of years, so to see 20 per cent in one year has been huge,” she said.

“It’s about having a multipurpose building that we can utilise in tandem with the youth centre.

“Previously we were in two sea containers with a lot of gear stored at people’s houses.

Busselton mayor Grant Henley said the Youth and Community Activities Building and SLS provided an outlet for young people to engage with the community.

“It provides a central hub for young people, families and community groups like the Busselton Surf Life Saving Club,” Mr Henley said. “It’s one of the community’s most valuable assets.”

Mrs Rabjones is also co-ordinator of the cadets and said the building meant the Busselton SLSC could offer more education programs for the community.

“We have more programs running and our cadets have really flourished this year,” she said. “The nippers and the cadets are the future of surf life saving.”

Training for the Bunbury Twilight Cup, to be held on January 18, is in full swing with teams competing in board paddling, surf swim races, beach sprints and traditional flags and iron man events.

“We’re also attracting more fitness-based activities, members can use the skis before breakfast and then go to work,” Mrs Rabjones said.

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