September 6 - 12, 2020: Issue 465


Paula Tocquer

With the Volunteer Surf Lifesaving Patrols Season set to commence with the Spring School Holidays on September 26, 2020, and a few warm days already shining on everyone, people are already thinking about getting back in the water. Members of local surf clubs are also gearing up for the coming 2020/2021 Season - gear has been checked, proficiencies are being renewed and Nippers enrolments have opened.

Always among the busiest beaches in the area and one of the first places the then Warringah Shire Council voted to have a rescue boat on, in 1908, Mona Vale SLSC's members have been serving the community as one organisation for almost 100 years.

The club has always been a place that undertakes a range of activities and carnivals throughout the Season that include the community and even taken steps to provide services that did not exist prior to them undertaking to fill those gaps. 

Mona Vale SLSC hosts the annual Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Special Needs Carnival, an event that won the State Surf Lifesaving Initiative of the Year in the 2017 Awards of Excellence and was started by club member Michael Wasley.  

“We’re very proud of the award. The committee gave us so much more support and it gained momentum growing from there. It was a fantastic day and we’re looking at running it again this year and hopefully opening it up to the other Branches as well,” Michael said in 2017.

Held for the first time in the 2016/17 season, there was a wide variety of events for the youngsters aged 5-24 and they along with their families had a fantastic day. The club spirit was on display with many Mona Vale junior competitors coming down to assist and cheer on their teammates. In subsequent years other branches, clubs and their members have joined in and this great carnival now it forms a permanent part of the surf sports calendar.

Last week Mr. Wasley was announced as a finalist in the Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards. He has conducted four seasons as Carnival Director of Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Special Needs Championships. Following the success of this event in 2019, Michael was appointed carnival director for the first SLSNSW State Championship Inclusive Event which is now a fixture of the Championship program. Michael was selected by SLSA to travel overseas to train and educate lifesavers in the South Korean Lifesaving Association, Police and the YMCA. Last year he won the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Lifesaver of the Year award for the second time and is always encouraging youngsters to become part of the Surf Life Saving Movement and currently serves as the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch – Deputy President.

Mona Vale SLSC has gone from strength to strength in recent years. There were a lot of recognitions for Mona Vale SLSC in the Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches Branch Awards of Excellence held in June 2019. The club took out the prestigious “Club of the Year” award, while members were also recognised for their excellence. Kris Monnock won Masters Athlete of the Year, Paula Tocquer won Administrator of the Year, Ross James was Trainer of the Year, Zali Beuzeville won Young Lifesaver of the Year, as well as the Awards for Most Outstanding Support for Member Services and Most Outstanding Support for Surf Sports.

2019 President Bryce Munro with Paula Tocquer, 2019 SLSSNB Administrator of the Year

Mona Vale’s reputation as a strong surf sports club continues to grow and this success is measured across a vast area in the club from Nippers, Seniors, Surfboats and Masters. The club has a great Youth Program that is developing not only outstanding you Australians but also giving their Nippers membership great examples.

The club also has a bank of trainers that start the season at full speed with proficiencies while consistently throughout the season training squads for education awards. Last season they hosted a Board and Ski Carnival  for the first time in many, many years - a great success. 

Mona Vale SLSC has 1,202 members and 279 patrolling members qualified in many different areas including first aid, beach rescue and resuscitation. The members are constantly improving their skills by achieving more qualifications ranging from advanced training to member welfare and mental health. Mona Vale SLSC continuously update their training and rescue equipment to be able to provide the best possible service to our community. The club also has over 400 children in their Nippers program who learn surf skills. Many of these nippers will grow up to be future life savers.

The Mona Vale Basin area has become a much busier area of Mona Vale Beach and subsequently club lifesavers run close to two patrols at Mona Vale; one on the beach and one keeping an eye on those having fun in this area. 

The club welcomes new members or for those who wish to support the club, there is also a Friends of MVLSC membership available where for a few dollars you can support their efforts to educate members, provide vital equipment and save lives on Mona Vale Beach.

It has been a big year for the Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club. Designs for new clubhouse have been approved, planning is underway for the club’s 100-year anniversary celebrations, and members are currently engaged in providing a Covid-19 Safe 2020/2021 Season for members and visitors to the beach. 

Recently, as Bryce Munro stepped down after four years at the helm, the club elected its first female President, Paula Tocquer, a lady who has featured in many a report for excelling in surf sports carnivals at local, state and national level. 

Mona Vale SLSC  Double Ski Medallists at 2019 Aussies: Paula Tocquer, Kristyn  Monnock, Andrea Smith, Sophie Stokes, Lise Barry and Jan Proudfoot - photo by Christine Hopton OAM

In the 2019/2020 Annual MVSLSC report Mr. Munro stated:

Paula is the most dedicated and supportive committee member any President could ever ask for. The contribution and the time Paula puts into Mona Vale Surf Club is incredible. She has been the absolute backbone of this committee in my time as President. Nothing we have achieved would have happened without Paula. Thank you Paula sincerely, you have been amazing to me and our club.

This week a small insight into the lady who will lead the Mona Vale SLSC into its centenary year.

The first ever Mona Vale SLSC female President! Has the significance of this achievement sunk in yet?

No, it is not where I thought I would ever be. We have been planning this for some time as a Committee. I have enjoyed being Club Secretary for the past four years and feel I have achieved a great deal. My new role will be a steep learning curve but I know former President Bryce Munro and the Committee will be there to support me. I will give my best to my club.

Nearly 100 years. Why do you think it has taken so long to have a woman at the helm?

SLS has traditionally been a male dominated organisation. Women were only admitted as full members in 1980 and it has taken time for women to join Mona Vale SLSC, gain experience and knowledge and work their way up through the ranks. We can proudly say that this Committee not only has a female President but nearly 50% of the positions will be held by women this season – Club Secretary, VP Finance, VP Member Relations – all women. We have a great team.

What changes have resonated most with you over the years?

I joined Mona Vale SLSC in October 2008 and completed my Bronze Medallion the following January. I started competing and teaching ‘Bronze’ that year and finally completed my Gold Medallion in 2012. This was a big achievement for me. I really enjoyed learning all these new skills and meeting new people. I have only been in SLS for the past 12 years which really is not a long time at all compared to some of our longstanding members. Over the years I have seen many female members of our club excel and many young members really embracing vital roles within the club. I think the younger members both female and male will not only contribute to the running of the club in the next few years but will bring a new way of thinking to all that we do.

Away from the surf club what does a normal week look like for the Tocquer family?

I have a 13-year-old son, Jordi, who has a broad and ever increasing number of interests, including the surf club. He keeps me busy along with my own interests such as ski paddling. I am lucky enough to work as an Account Executive for a great company with a great culture. It is a demanding role in the software life sciences industry. My partner Jeremy and I live in Mona Vale, not too far from the beach and during the week I like to train each day either at Mona Gym, swim with friends at the Basin, paddle in the dark (Winter) or go Mountain bike riding with my friends.

You have achieved a great deal representing the Mona Vale SLSC in Surf Sports - what have been your highlights?

Yes, I have trained over the past 12 years and it has taken some time to see the results. I must say though, I am lucky to have some great teammates such as Kris Monnock and Sophie Stokes. Without these ladies training and competing would not have been as much fun. There have been many injuries and a few medals along the way. The most memorable medals would be the ‘Aussies’ (Australian Titles) Silver Taplin Relay in 2018 with Lise Layard and Lisa Critoph. Kris and I won Silver at ‘Aussies’ in 2019 for the Double Ski. The ladies have had to face some big waves at both State and ‘Aussies’ over the past few years. We have been trying to get that Gold Medal for double ski for some time now. We will keep trying. Anything can happen and usually does in Double Ski races! I love that event.

As President what will be your biggest strengths and where do you think as a club we need to be stronger?

I have a great passion and love for our club and I will do my best to make sure our club continues to thrive within our community. We will be vigilant and at the top of our game as we provide the essential service of keeping swimmers safe. It is important that we continue to strengthen our ‘one club’ policies, from the youngest Nipper to our Life Members, all embracing this special place. When all our members show pride in the Mona Vale SLSC, respect each other and do their best for the community, we only get stronger.

If you had a table for 10 at a local eatery who would be there with you from over the years at Mona Vale SLSC?

Well firstly, I think I would need a bigger table and I am now worried that I have forgotten someone … My table would be Bryce Munro, Rick Harris, Ross James, Andrew and Caroline Hjorth, Robyn Moore, Kris Monnock, Greg Watt, Tim Woolnough and Glenn Tolan. Can Olivia Lane come too?

The club is gearing up to celebrate a Centenary while building a very flash new clubhouse facility. What message do you have for members and the local community?

When I moved from Bondi to Mona Vale in 2008, I joined the club to meet people and be a part of the community. I feel very much at home here. I don’t know how many times I have swept the sand from the clubhouse and watched the numerous changes we have made to try and fit gear in and accommodate an ever-increasing membership. I can’t wait for the club to have a new building, but I will be sad to see the old place go after housing so many memories over the years. Mona Vale is growing. Our club is growing. The new clubhouse will welcome the Mona Vale Boardriders Club and have better access for patrolling, plus beautiful areas to enjoy yoga or a meal with family. Our Members space has always been open to the wider community and we hope to see more new faces, like I once was, enjoying our brilliant new facility. The entire Mona Vale community will be able to share in something wonderful as we look forward to creating some new memories together.

At Mona Vale SLSC our core Visions and Values are Inclusion - Respect - Community and for Safety beyond just the water’s edge.


To embrace and provide equal opportunities to all people irrespective of age, gender, ability, nationality, medical or other need.


To observe, admire and appreciate all people for their abilities, qualities and achievements without prejudice. 


To create a group of people that care about each other and feel they belong together through common interests, beliefs and values.

Since 1922, Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club has been providing a vital service to the local community. Our primary goal is to keep beachgoers as safe as possible during patrol hours. We patrol the beach, train lifesavers, and teach and guide our Nippers, the lifesavers of the future. We pride ourselves on being a family oriented club and welcome all ages and abilities to become involved.The more involved you become in the club, the more people you will meet and the more enjoyment you will have.

Our club values of Inclusion, Respect and Community are what we think about as a committee in everything we do for our members and the wider community. As acting President, doing the right thing is my mantra. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or any of the committee members to discuss any aspect of the club.

Welcome to our club and see you at the club!

Paula Tocquer – President