Taking up an interest in lifesaving was a natural step for Woolooware High School students Riley Porteous and Sophie Burns.
Both grew up near the beach, so their love of the outdoors progressed into a passion for learning vital skills.
This month, the pair, both from North Caringbah, won the main won awards (male and female junior surf life saver of the year) at the Sydney Branch Surf Lifesaving Championships.
The Elouera and Wanda life savers joined nominees from other surf life saving clubs across Sydney in the presentation.
Finalists showcase vital skills including first aid, rescue, swimming and leadership.
“Surf life saving has taught me how important giving back to the community is,” Sophie said.
“It offers amazing opportunities to engage in our community and make people aware of how important our organisation is.
“It has also instilled in me a great love and respect for the ocean.”
Riley said the recognition was confidence-building.
“I’m also hoping it will help me to become a better leader and to lead by example,” he said.
“I am hoping to formalise a mentoring program to help out the less confident nippers.
“Surf life saving is also an excellent way to get outside and get fit while having fun.”