December 11 2022 - January 14 2023: Issue 566


Guyren Smith

In 2014 Guyren Smith was named the Newport Surf Club 'Clubman of the Year' by Members.

Newport club President, Rob Emerson, stated Guyren spends an enormous amount of time maintaining equipment, assisting with fundraising, providing water safety and officiating on the beach. 

"Guyren completed 59.25 hours of patrols during the Season and he has also held many positions this year including: Patrol Captain, Nipper Age Manager, Accredited Level 1 Official, Trainer Bronze Medallion and Probationary Assessor Trainer IRB.

"He is also the Vice Chairman Nippers, our IRB Racing Team Captain and IRB Captain. Guyren is a most worthy the recipient of this most prestigious award. Clubman of the Year," said Rob.

Guyren has also consistently been a medal winner in the Champion Lifesaver competition at SLS NSW State Carnivals in the 40+ age division. The Champion Lifesaver event provides individual SLSA members with the opportunity to demonstrate in a competitive manner the physical, lifesaving and knowledge skills required of a Lifesaver. This consists of Physical Skills; Surf Race, Board Race, Beach Sprint, Rescue Tube Rescue (10 points each), a  Questionnaire; The theory paper section consists of 40 Multiple Choice Questions derived from the current edition of the SLSA Public Safety and Aquatic Rescue Manual. 30-minute time limit, and Resuscitation; Part A: a live patient assessment including lateral position and Part B: One person CPR on a manikin.

Guyren Smith - Newport SLSC, 2018 Gold. Photo: SLS NSW

Guyren has won the Gold in 20182019, 2021 and took the bronze in 2020 stating of that occasion, "A mistake in theory cost me." 

When the Summer Season ends Guyren commences engaging with club Members in taking part in the annual Winter IRB Competitions run by Surf Life Saving New South Wales that feed into the National Competition. Guyren, with others, reignited Newport becoming part of this. The Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) competition aims to: Improve the skills and technique of IRB drivers and crew, allow crews to demonstrate their techniques and abilities to perform rescues, bring crews together to discuss and improve IRB techniques and operations and promote safety awareness techniques for the crew and patients in simulated rescue scenarios.

Newport Surf Club hosted the Finals in 2013, won Bronze in 2017 in the U23's and has improved with each successive Championship, making the Grand Final in a number of events during the 2022 Premiership and State Championships.

Guyren also undertakes Assessments for Bronzes for other clubs, and is a member of the Newport Emergency Response Team that is called out to respond to bushfires and flooding eventsMr. Smith also runs his own business atop being a 12 months of the year part of the Surf Life Saving Movement. 

This Issue, a few insights into Newport's new surf club president.

When did you first join Newport SLSC?

I first joined around 2008 when my kids started in Nippers – so as a Nippers parent and Associate Member.

You have since become very involved at Newport Surf Club though – we spotted you training youngsters in the IRB on Pittwater in July 2016 and you have competed in the Winter IRB rounds for years. How did you change from an Associate to a Trainer?

I became very interested in the education side of Surf Life Saving and became an IRB and Bronze Trainer. I saw an opportunity to help develop the club’s skills through an IRB Race team. So a couple of us got involved in that – Newport hadn’t had an IRB Race Team for around 20 years or so prior to a few of us getting it restarted. I live on Scotland Island so I enjoy being out on boats, it was a natural for me to get involved in this.

One of the aspects of the club I really enjoy is the interaction between the different age groups, which the IRB lends itself to particularly as does champion lifesaver and patrol competition and patrols in general.  The areas where you have 16 year olds through to 60 year olds working together at the same level, being treated as equals, I think is a really important part of what we do at the club, or at any surf club. 

Newport SLSC Winter IRB Training July 2016 - launching off Clareville Beach. Photo: A J Guesdon

This year you have taken on the role of Newport Surf Club President – how did that happen?

I was asked. I had been on the Committee in various roles for a number of years – IRB Captain then Chief Trainer. The previous President asked me to be the Vice President. His succession plan was to have me do a couple of years as Vice President and then step into the role. 

Having the chance to give back to the club and help the club along and help it achieve the goals we want to achieve, has always been one of my priorities.

What are the goals you’d like the club to achieve during your presidency?

One obvious one is the renewal of the building and getting the clubhouse up to a standard that can see us into the future and support the club into the future. There’s a number of elements involved in that. One is getting the rescue facilities up to the standard we need them to be, along with the storage facilities. The other part of that is getting the clubhouse so it supports the multi-use functions space to a point where we can offer more to the community; more functions, more use for others.

That historically has always been an aspect of Newport surf club since its inception – members offered the hall for use during the 1940’s and 1950’s as a community hall and also a baby health clinic prior to those being established elsewhere. Prior to that music nights and afternoons as well as fundraising for community facilities were centred around events the clubhouse hosted and were supported by members being involved in these as well. The history goes a fair way back for the club and clubhouse being a community hub.

So we’d like that to continue and expand – offer youth nights, be used as a place where education events can occur, along with the traditional fundraising events that have always taken place.

We’ve got great new facilities in Newport now with the new community centre near the tennis courts but we do envision the surf club building being used more as a community hub as part of the whole Newport area. 

The other pressing matter for all surf clubs is rebuilding after two years of Covid, where essentially we were forced to tell members to keep away for a couple of years and to try and bring everyone back in after that. It’s been really nice seeing the club and the beach get busy again over the past few months – so that rebuilding and reconnecting with the community and the members and getting them back involved in, not only Patrols, but being part of social functions. That’s something we’ve all been missing and so now the focus is on reengaging with the members and hopefully getting them involved with the club and the community again.

So those are the two main priorities for the year, as well as always improving and increasing our life saving service abilities and encouraging and supporting our competition side of things. Those two things go hand-in-hand; the competition side of the club and the training is an important aspect of increasing our abilities on the beach when patrolling.

The third Newport surf club building officially opened September 30th, 1933 – the height of the Depression in Australia – is the structure most will recognise in today’s Newport SLSC clubhouse. Although the clubhouse has been modified and additions added in, this is basically the same structure and framing from that build:

Work Praised by Minister. 

The Minister for Labour (Mr. Dunningham), speaking at the opening of the Newport Surf Clubhouse on Saturday, warmly praised the work of life-saving clubs, and said they should be subsidised by the State at some future date. The beaches were a great national asset, and the sport associated with them tended to develop the best type of citizen. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Parkhill) said that he had urged the remission of sales tax on life-saving gear. Expenditure on the new club building and recreation hall included £1850 contributed by the State Government, which also allocated£5000 for the draining of an adjacent swamp area.  LIFE-SAVING CLUBS. (1933, October 2, Monday). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from

NEW SURF CLUBHOUSE AT NEWPORT. Surfers at Newport this season will have the benefit of this commodious building, which has been constructed for the local club. NEW SURF CLUBHOUSE AT NEWPORT. (1933, October 4).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from


Mr. Dunningham (Minister for Labour) praised the work of the surf clubs. Mr. A. Parkhill. M.P., was also present. THE OPENING OF THE NEWPORT SURF CLUBHOUSE. (1933, October 4). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), , p. 30. Retrieved from 

Newport surf clubhouse from western side view. Photo is from within the clubhouse itself where a display or historic items related to the club's history are on display. The image also shows the formalised channel for the Newport Lagoon has been installed

Newport surf club members have been achieving outstanding results in recent months – gold medals at the 2022 Coolangatta Gold - what is the focus, going forward, for Surf Sports and other Programs?

Yes – there have actually been some great results since then across all areas of competition. We had a good group up at Alexandra Headland for the Summer of Surf Series. We got a win in the Open Ironwoman Competition and 2nd in the Open Taplin which is a great result. We have three people through to the Ironman Series this Season as well, which is great to see. There has been a bit of a pull from the Queensland clubs to take competitors up there so it’s great to have some fantastic results coming out of the New South Wales clubs.. 

Newport Surf Club has a range of other programs it’s excelling in though; the Take 3 for the Sea run by Lizzie Welborn and Sam Capell, along with the award winning Programs – the Nippers Disability Program that has been rolled out to other clubs, were all commenced at Newport. You are also retaining your younger membership – the list goes on and on – how does Newport achieve all that year in year out?

Part of it is to just keep that rolling. We are one of the pioneers in the Disability Nippers Program, and have had that for a number of years, and it continues to go from strength to strength, and is well supported and is always great to see the joy that comes from it.

I had a meeting with our SRC members and Youth Advisor on the weekend and we discussed new ways of engaging and retaining that 15 to 25 year old cohort of patrolling members and giving them opportunities outside of patrolling and outside of competition. 

You asked before about the IRB Competition Team, and that remains one of the drives for our younger membership, along with our Champion Lifesaver and Patrol Comp Teams and our First Aid Team, is offering our young members opportunities outside of the core Surf Sports. We hold a position that it’s important to offer a range of options for our younger members to be able to get involved in – things they can enjoy, things that can benefit them and empower them not only as members but in their lives outside of the club. The movement itself needs to retain that 15 to 25 year old membership – so to keep working on ways to offer them other opportunities to be involved is fantastic. We’re trying to offer them a range of Programs to keep them engaged and keep them interested. 

The other aspect of Newport Surf Club is members are called out to respond to other emergencies outside of the Patrol Season as well as within it – Newport Members responded when flooding at Narrabeen meant people had to be evacuated, and they have also served the western Sydney community during flood responses as well as further afield during the past few years. How did that become part of what Newport members do – was it the IRB Training, part of what Members do, or?

It's a combination of different things. There is a really nice culture of service within the club. Over the past two years of Surf Life Saving being gazetted as an Emergency Service we do get calls to go out outside of our normal beach facing operations. Having a good core group of Members who are dedicated in their service to the community is part of Newport  – they don’t hesitate to put their hands up to help, whether it be door knocks to advise people of evacuation for bush fires, or flood response either in the local community or elsewhere  - the Members do tend to jump in.

Outside of that we have a lot of Members that fulfil roles beyond just the club as well. We have Members who are jet ski operators up and down the beaches, Duty Officers, Radio operators and Carnival Safety Officers; all these other roles within surf life saving services as well.

I can’t put my finger on with but I think it’s partly training, partly members see a few people doing it and decide ‘that’s something that’s good to be doing’ and then put their hand up and that builds on itself – ultimately it’s part of the culture within the club itself – to serve others, to help others.

Beachgoers to Newport this Season - what would you like them to do or be aware of?

The usual message we need to get out there is obviously, please Swim between the Flags. Please look out for the signs we put up and be aware they are placed there to warn you of dangers in the water – rips, blue bottles. Please take notice of what the lifeguards during the week say, along with the Lifesavers on Patrol during the weekends. 

With the unfortunate incident that has occurred last weekend, we always need to get the message out to rock fishermen to please wear a lifejacket and check the conditions before you go fishing. If there is advice that there is a dangerous or rising swell - don’t go – don’t go out on the rock platforms - be safe, be aware of what the conditions are.

But obviously, for beachgoers, the main one is Swim Between The Flags. We’re there to keep you safe and do have the people on the beach with the experience of putting the flags in the right place and that’s where you should be swimming, and where we are watching as well.

What has Surf Life Saving given back to you personally Guyren?

It’s a massive influence on my life – it’s a place and a movement where I’ve met a lot of good people and great friends that are dedicated to service to the community. Surf Life Saving talks about keeping people safe (Vigilance and Service) and making better people. It’s not only what it’s given to me it’s what its given to my family; my wife and kids all patrol and are involved in various areas of the club, in IRB competition I sometimes get the chance to team up with one or both of my kids and that is always a highlight.  It’s a fantastic way to give back and to engage with the community while having a great time with like-minded and good people. And I’m not just talking Newport surf club in that instance – I’m an Assessor which means I assess new Bronzes and get to meet lots of other great people at other clubs and get to spend a far bit of time at other clubs as well. Surf Life Saving is filled with really good people who are just great to spend time with while we’re all giving back to the community. 

How many hours are you committing to Surf Life Saving at present – is it another full-time job atop your regular job?

It’s close to it. I’d be spending at least a couple of days a week on it on various roles and aspects. Obviously being President takes some time, that’s basically running a small business, and then I take some time to do Assessing and I Patrol as well. 

What are your favourite places in Pittwater and why?

Obviously Scotland Island – because it’s home. You made mention of me doing some training with the IRB crews on Pittwater – I do love the western beaches on Pittwater, so Portuguese beach and those sorts of places. They are just spectacular places; to have them so close at hand and so remote at the same time, and they’re all such beautiful spots, we are very fortunate.

So Scotland Island, the Pittwater waterway itself, and of course Newport Beach, because that’s where my family has grown up doing something positive together and where we’re a part of something great.

What is your ‘motto for life’ or a favourite phrase you try to live by?

Put in the effort and you will see the results. 

I find that if we put our minds to things then we can achieve great things. Whether it’s within our family or within the club I find that if we set our minds to achieve things, such as competing in Coolangatta Gold recently or anything we’ve taken on, if we put the work in we can get there.

Portuguese Beach, Pittwater. Photo: A J Guesdon