2016 A Year in Review - 22nd Dec 2016

2016 A Year in Review

2016 was another great year for the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club Community; continued sporting success was experienced, our patrol standards were maintained in challenging conditions and a greater sense of family grew around the club.

Highlights for the year were:


2016 provided a lot of challenges for our core business, with lifeguard patrols being a difficult exercise due to the beach conditions. The year started off with very limited access to the beach, and the red flag indicating no swimming was possible being flown more often than not. We closed out the summer in March 2016 not knowing what winter might bring.

Credit to the Dunedin City Council for managing to get work done to shore up the beach, it took longer than was expected and plenty of mud was thrown their way.

There is now reasonably steady access to the beach to the north of the Esplanade and lifeguards are able to patrol during all tides.


Following recent trends our Pool, Junior Surf and IRB athletes set the bench mark for sporting performance.

Rising Dunedin athlete Erika Fairweather continued to bring unparalleled sporting success as a member of our club, collecting a further 4 medals at Oceans 16 in March and then adding 7 more at Pool Nationals in October. Erika's results withstanding, a group of outstanding St Clair members are forming around her and these athletes are among those to watch in 2017. We've already seen how ultra competitive the Under 14 age group is at our recent interclubs, wait till they team up at Oceans 17.

Our IRB team has long been one of the strongest in the country and this continued to be the case in 2016 with outstanding results at IRB nationals in March, which featured Angus Mackenzie and Arthur Ibbotson taking out the Top Crew Award for Under 21 and our women's crews collecting several medals.

2017 marks a bit of change with some of our IRB moving out of town however there are already a core group completing multiple training sessions, and the flat conditions at Waipu Cove just might suit a few of our crews in certain events.

2016 Pool Champs in Auckland produced outstanding results with the team narrowly missing out on a top three finish overall, with one of the smallest teams at the event. Significant points were contributed by Carina Doyle and Andrew Trembath who despite moving out of Dunedin to enhance their swimming careers remain loyal to our club.

It says a lot about who we are that we can retain people when they change their city.

Pool Champs also saw our Under 14 Girls Relay team featuring Erika Fairweather, Olivia Andrews, Charlotte Underwood-Nicol and Madison Wills set a national record in the Under 14 Brick Relay.

Our sand team continues to strive towards matching the successes of other areas in club. We've struggled over the last three years to meet the heights of 5-6 years ago and the core dedicated bunch of 20 are working hard under new coaches Barry Vienvleit and Joel Davies to return St Clair to being the Top South Island Club.

Club Capability

Two big steps forward were taken by the club to improve our overall capability.

Firstly our boat shed facility on Portobello Road was sold early in the year; with plans made for a replacement facility to be either purchased or built on the city side of the harbour.

Fortunately a ready made facility on Magnet Street owned by the Otago University Students Association was put up for sale and a bid by the club was accepted. This facility has been named the Owheo Paddling Centre and also houses the Fire in Ice Outrigger Canoe Club and Otago Kayak Racing Club. Plans are currently being developed for the facility to increase its usability.

Our second major project was the purchase of a club tow vehicle. This was highlighted in previous years as one the largest day-to-day issues for the club impacting on our athletes training, attendance at events and our responsiveness to lifeguard callouts and events away from our beach.

A funding application was submitted and subsequently approved by the Bendigo Valley Foundation, and with support from Armstrong Prestige Dunedin, a Mercedes vehicle was purchased at a competitive rate.

Future Plans

As our club grows and achieves more and more success, a need to develop a clear understanding of where our club is heading becomes more apparent. As part of this planning a strategy needs to be developed to ensure that all our activities are contributing to our short and long term goals.

A draft document is currently in the early stages of being prepared, and some items that might be of interest in the items being suggested for inclusion are:

  • Decisions around long term suitability and use of the current storage areas, with a particular focus on the IRB shed
  • Redevelopment of the upstairs Lounge facility to increase and diversify it's use to meet the long term financial needs of the club
  • Positions and focus areas for the Club Executive Committee
  • Development of lifeguarding skills for active members
  • Sporting excellence and areas of focus
  • Club coaching positions
  • Financial sustainability

The items listed above are concepts which have been suggested by club members in a number of informal settings. The final make up of any club development strategy will be approved by the club membership through official processes.


James Coombes
Club Chair
St Clair SLSC

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