March 10-16, 2024: Issue 617


2024 SLS NSW Age State Surf Life Saving Championships

Ready, Set, GO! Photo: Anthony Rose, volunteer photographer from hosts Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club

The 2024 NSW Age Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly presented by Your local club kicked off on the Northern beaches from Thursday 7 March, with thousands of the state’s best young lifesavers preparing to battle it out in the surf and on the sand over the coming four days.

Queenscliff SLSC, alongside Freshwater SLSC to the north and North Steyne SLSC to the south, is the scene for four days of excitement and action, with U9 through to U15 competitors contesting a slew of events including swims, boards, relays, beach sprints and flags, through to Rescue and Resuscitation and the Junior March Past event on Sunday.

The 2024 NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly supported by Your local club, began the previous weekend with Lifesaving Championships 1-3 March and runs through to 17 March at Queenscliff, North Steyne and Freshwater beaches. 

The NSW Surf Life Saving Championships, proudly presented by Your local club is the largest event of its kind in NSW, with more than 20,000 competitors, officials and spectators to filter through the competition area over the course of the coming two weeks – Masters, Open and Surf Boat Championships will be contested next week, and the Lifesaving Championships ran at Freshwater over the weekend.

North Bondi SLSC is the defending Age Surf Life Saving club champion, with Coogee SLSC, Wanda SLSC, South Maroubra SLSC and traditional Age powerhouse, North Curl Curl SLSC among the clubs chasing top spot.

Following a successful Country Championships just under a month ago at Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC, Surf Life Saving NSW Director and Chair of Surf Sports, Don van Keimpema is anticipating Nippers will be eager and ready to go.

“We’re really looking forward to this – the stage is set, the weather looks like it will be stunning, and we’re ready for all the best young athletes to hit the beach over the next four days,” he said.

“The State Championships is our showpiece event, our opportunity to bring everyone together from up and down the NSW coastline doing the things we love. The Age Championships is a fantastic platform to further our young members’ lifesaving journey.

“We’ve got three fantastic beaches and we’re back in metropolitan Sydney for a third year, it’s going to be a great showcase of sportsmanship and talent.”

The first official NSW Championship event for Nippers was held in 1968 at Merewether Beach in the Hunter Branch with over 1,000 young athletes.

Now, some 54 years later, we will see more than 2,500 enthusiastic Nippers and young lifesavers competing at the highest level – a testament to the evolving nature of the Championships and its ability to inspire and establish great athletes.

For host club, Queenscliff, it’s the benefit of waking up each morning in your own bed that will spur them towards success.

“With State Champs on our beach again the excitement is palpable,” Queenscliff Team Manager, Shona Rose said.

“We’re going to have about 130 competitors all up, including our Masters and Opens, and the sentiment is not lost on them that they’re competing on their home beach.”

The first of many State surf sport carnivals for NSW’s youngest competitors kicked off on Thursday, with many laying solid foundations for future success across an exciting day in the surf and on the sand.


2024 State Championships March Past- Congratulations Mona Vale SLSC - Mona Vale SLSC Won Silver in SLS NSW  Age State Championships March Past 2024. Congratulations Nirvana B, Amy B, Isabel C, Tilly C, Emily W, Elizabeth F, Evelyn H, Avigail K-G, Jasmine Mcc, Taylor McC, Alexandra T, and Olivia W.  Photo: Anthony Rose 


Newport's Saved Littoral Rainforest At Hillside Road: New Bushcare Group Begins

Video by Bruce Walters with Danielle Bressington, July 2018

Littoral Rainforest at 85-62  Hillside Rd Newport.
A new bushcare group has started work on this land at last. 

The first day was on Saturday March 9, starting at 8.30, working for around three hours. 

Saved from subdivision after years of community opposition to its destruction, it was bought by Council and the NSW Government, following years of work by residents under Pittwater Council that was renewed in 2018 when the site was proposed for subdivision once more.

Council's Bush regeneration contractors have been working there for several months but there’s plenty for bushcarers to do as well. It adjoins Attunga Reserve to the north, adding to significant areas of bushland of great fauna value. 

Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA) states it is delighted this land is at last being cared for. 

To get involved in helping out on this site, please email PNHA at: or visit:

''Come and have a look, and if you'd like to join the group, wear long pants and enclosed shoes. Tools and Morning Tea provided. '' PNHA said

Early in May 2018 residents contacted Pittwater Online News, separately, wondering why land then on the market (over 10 thousand square metres) could not be secured for the community to complete the Newport/Bilgola Crown to the Sea bush links. 

All of them were requesting the PON to 'do something about it'.

The initial meeting of residents and community groups at Mick's place.

Pittwater Online spoke to Artist Mick Glasheen, who had also been speaking about the same matter in 2017, and was renting a premises on the property at that time. 

Having spent time exploring Newport's 'Crown to the Sea' paths, which wend from one side of Bilgola to Newport through the green pockets of Newport and Bilgola reserves, the potential to realise a 'connecting completion of this loop' was envisioned by the residents and Mick.

The land includes significant Littoral Rainforest which is listed as an Endangered Ecologically Community (EEC) under NSW Legislation and Critically Endangered under Commonwealth Legislation. It is adjacent to the public bushland areas called the 'Crown to the Sea', making it a corridor extension to other important habitat and biodiversity rich areas.

Pittwater Online subsequently contacted Newport Residents Association President Gavin Butler, Marita Macrae, President of the Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA), Neil Evers of the Aboriginal support Group, Manly, Warringah, Pittwater and arranged, with Mick as host, an informal morning tea on site so all the people who had spoken about the same thing separately together so they could speak about it as one. The news service also informed MP for Pittwater Rob Stokes about the community's aspiration to secure this land.

These individuals and groups, took it from there - arranging to make a great video (by Bruce Walters with Danielle Bressington), launched an online petition (via PNHA) and liaised with their members (Gavin of Newport Residents and Neil Evers of ASPMWP, PNHA members) Councillors and Council as well as former Pittwater MP Rob Stokes to get this one over the line.

Former Councillors Alex McTaggart and now new Pittwater MP Rory Amon 'stepped up' in particular, speaking out at council meetings for the acquisition of this 2.56 acres of land.

There was lantana and other weeds on this land, which may need extra bushcare volunteer hands to help clear it, now that Council's contractors have completed the initial works.

Confirmation the land had been secured was announced by former Pittwater's MP, The Hon Rob Stokes, then NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces was released on Monday, March 11th, 2019, stating that more than 10,000 square metres of Littoral rainforest near Newport will be preserved as public open space thanks to a $4.6 million joint investment by the NSW Government and Northern Beaches Council.

Member for Pittwater and Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the acquisition will ensure the pristine ecological area is preserved for the next generation.

“Our government is committed to ensuring the people of NSW have access to great public open space,” Mr Stokes said.

“Protecting the environment is a huge priority for the Northern Beaches community, so I am delighted we have been able to preserve endangered rainforest, while protecting an important wildlife corridor and increasing green space in the Sydney basin.”



Laura Enever Honoured With Pittwater Woman Of The Year 2024 Award

The Pittwater Woman of the Year 2024 was awarded to Laura Enever in recognition of her significant contribution to the local and international surfing community, inspiring and showing young women that the sky is their limit.

Member for Pittwater Rory Amon commended Laura on the honour, recognising her passion and the positive impact she has made locally and abroad.

“This is a well-deserved honour for Laura. Her dedication to surfing and success in breaking the world record for the largest wave ever surfed into by a woman, has made our community so proud.”

“At 32 years of age, Laura is the youngest ever Pittwater Woman of the Year and an inspiration to many young surfers and aspiring pro athletes, particularly women, in Pittwater and beyond. She was one of the first female surfers in the North Narrabeen Boardriders Club, pioneering a pathway for the now dozens of young women surfing with the Club” said Mr Amon.

The award was presented at the annual International Women’s Day Breakfast hosted by the Zonta Club of the Northern Beaches at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Newport.

In receiving the award, Ms Enever praised her mother, Sarah Enever, who she described as her “hero, always being there for me so I could pursue my passion.”

Laura and Sarah. Photo: Michael Mannington OAM/Community Photography/PON

“Thank you to Tricia Smith, Dr Lorna Scott, and the Zonta team for organising this significant event, and well done to Laura – you make us so proud!” said Mr Amon

Hosts, the Zonta Club of Northern Beaches Inc. stated:

''Our club hosted its annual “International Women’s Day” the beautiful RPAYC Newport. This was attended by 170 guests including many local state and federal members, Z Club students from NBSC Mackellar Girls Campus and Mater Maria Catholic College. Our guest speaker Dr Grace Sharkey, lecturer from the Department of Gender Studies at Sydney University spoke enthusiastically about youth and feminism. Presented by Rory Amon, Member for Pittwater was the  annual  “Pittwater Woman of the Year 2024”to local surfing legend Laura Enever, to much acclaim. 

Laura spoke about the shifts in her sport which have made it easier for women to participate at a local, national and international level.''

Laura Enever is a fearless and stylish surfer with a brilliant smile whose surfing began when she was just a grom. on the salty shores of North Narrabeen where she would surf every single day with her big brother and dad. A passion and a way of life was born and from there she went on to be the ISA Junior World Champion and Triple Crown Rookie of the year in 2008, ASP Women’s World Junior Champion in 2009 and made her professional debut in 2011. In 2015 she took out the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing in Manly.

Laura spent 7 years on the World Tour consistently finishing in the Top 10, surfing all around the world. Laura has also made a name for herself in the big wave scene, chasing some of the biggest swells and surfing waves of consequence. Enever spent months training her body to better withstand the punishment of lots of whitewater at places like Jaws and Mavericks and training her mind to relax and remain calm when things get challenging.

World Record

In November 2023 the World Surf League (WSL) announced that Laura Enever (AUS) has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the Largest wave surfed paddle-in (female). The WSL officially analysed, measured, and verified Enever’s 2023 record-breaking ride at 43.6 feet (13.3 meters) as part of the WSL Big Wave Record Chase, making it the biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman. 

Enever successfully surfed a wave measuring 43.6 feet (13.3 meters) from trough to crest at Outer Reef, the big-wave break on the North Shore of Oahu, on January 22, 2023. 

“I knew it was big when I paddled into it, and then when I took off, I looked down, and I knew it was definitely the biggest wave I've ever caught,” said Enever.

“I knew it was the wave of my life, the whole way it all came together and the way I committed, backed myself, told myself to go, and trusted I could do it. The ride was such a breakthrough for me and a moment that will be special and monumental in my surf career. To get awarded this months later is really cool, I can't believe it.

“I would never be in this position if it wasn't for all the big wave surfers who have come before me and paved the way, especially the really brave, courageous females who have always inspired me and made me feel like I could get out there and give it a crack. So, thank you to all the amazing women. I'm just constantly in awe. Andrea Moller held this record before me, and it's an honour to hold that record and keep pushing big wave surfing. And I know that the next girls, the next generation of female big wave surfers, are going to do the same.”

Visit: North Narrabeen's Laura Enever Sets New World Record For Largest Wave Surfed Paddle-In (Female)

Photo; WSL / Daniel Russo 

Laura celebrating with family and friends at North Narrabeen. Photo: WSL / Matt Dunbar

MORE in this Issue's Profile of the Week


Inspirational Leaders Recognised With NSW SES Awards On International Women's Day: Warringah-Pittwater Unit Award

Photo: NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit members; Jiani Chen, Sam Colwell, Sarah Carrington, Lynsey Edwards, Juliet Smith, Michelle Puhl, Katrina Roberts, Sara Wakeling, and Jenny Parkes were recognised for their 'Women Helping Women' initiative - some of the girls are pictured here at the Awards ceremony with NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM

Inspiring women in the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) have been recognised at an awards ceremony for their contribution and accomplishments in emergency management and response this International Women’s Day, Friday March 8 2024.   

A group of nine women from the NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit were recognised with an Initiative Award for their “Women Helping Women” workshops, aimed to empower local women with vital home maintenance skills. Through structured sessions, participants gained insights into roof structure, tradie engagement, and emergency preparedness, which helped foster confidence and empowerment.  

The recognition came as part of the inaugural Women in NSW SES Awards, which highlight the exceptional accomplishments of females across all areas of the Service, and recognise the great contributions they make day in, day out.  

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said she was delighted to celebrate female volunteers and members who help communities across the state and make the NSW SES a great place to work.  

“There are more than 70 female Unit Commanders across the state, and a healthy representation of women in leadership roles within the staff contingent of the service,” Commissioner York said.  

“The NSW SES proudly boasts females in all levels of leadership, as well as many frontline roles including chainsaw, flood rescue, storm response, vertical rescue, peer support, chaplaincy and logistics staff, just to name a few.” 

NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Damien Johnston said the awards highlighted the work of members and staff who have demonstrated remarkable dedication, talent, and perseverance. 

“By specifically acknowledging the accomplishments of our female members, we strive to break barriers, inspire others, and build a stronger and more inclusive NSW SES community,” he said.  

Waverley-Woollahra Unit Deputy Commander Suzy Domingues, who was named NSW SES Volunteer Woman of the Year, said it was exciting to be part of a Service that has an extensive number of women in leadership positions.  

“We’re showing the next generation, and the younger cohort of staff and volunteers, that women can go a long way,” Inspector Domingues said.  

“Embracing women as equals and recognising that they can do what men can do is great. There isn’t a role that is off limits for women in the NSW SES.

"I'm supported by a fantastic male Unit Commander, and other female leaders in our unit, without whom I would be able to achieve what we have." 

Inspector Domingues was given the prestigious award for her visionary leadership which challenges the norms to actively recruit, coach and develop female members.  

Deputy Commissioner Johnston said Inspector Domingues commitment to advancing women in leadership has transformed workplace culture, setting a precedent for inclusivity and excellence within the NSW SES. 

NSW SES Woman Staff member of the Year was awarded to Director of Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance, Nicola Clark.  

An Outstanding Service Award – Highly Commended Certificate was awarded to Sofala Unit Commander Natalie Cole for going above and beyond as both a Community First Responder and Road Crash Rescue Operator.  

Inspector Cole’s relentless commitment to ensuring access to critical first responders, coupled with her exemplary performance and unwavering work ethic, makes her an invaluable asset to her community.  

Commissioner York, who was the first female Commissioner of an emergency service in NSW, congratulated all award recipients and thanked them for their contribution to the NSW SES.  

“It’s a privilege to lead a Service which is full of strong female leaders, from Unit Commanders to Directors and a Deputy Commissioner, who are dedicated to saving lives and creating safer communities across the state,” Commissioner York said. 


The full list of award recipients are:  

  • NSW SES Woman Volunteer of the Year: Suzy Domingues, Deputy Commander, Waverley-Woollahra Unit
  • NSW SES Woman Staff member of the Year Award: Nicola Clark, Director Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance  
  • Initiative Award: NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit members: Sam Colwell, Sara Wakeling, Sarah Carrington, Lynsey Edwards, Juliet Smith, Michelle Puhl, Jiani Chen, Katrina Roberts and Jenny Parkes.
  • Outstanding Service - Highly commended: Stacey Dengate, Membership Coordinator, Dapto Unit and Natalie Cole, Unit Commander, Sofala Unit.  
  • Champion of Change Award: Nicola Clark, Director Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance. 
  • Emerging Woman Leader Award – Winners (x2): Brandy Timewell, Team Leader, Blacktown Unit and Nikki Ristoski, Deputy Unit Commander, Shellharbour Unit.  
  • Emerging Woman Leader - Highly Commended: Kirra Waine, Senior Project Officer, Emergency Management.
  • Outstanding Woman Leader Award - Winner: Suzy Domingues, Deputy Unit Commander, Waverley – Woollahra Unit.
  • Outstanding Woman Leader Award – Highly Commended: Therese Coutinho, Team Leader, Blacktown Unit.  

Warringah/Pittwater SES response unit, commissioned in 2023

NSW SES Warringah/Pittwater Volunteers at Australia Day Breakfast 2024 at Newport


Autumn In Pittwater 

Cockatoo squabble, March 2024, Pittwater.
Rainbow Lorikeet seed feed, March 2024, Pittwater.

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