• Summer Surf Girl winner – Jessica Simpson, Dicky Beach SLSC
• Summer Surf Girl runner-up – Chloe McGrath, Coochiemudlo Island SLSC
• Highest Fundraiser – Ashlee Keen, Townsville Picnic Bay SLSC – over $110,000
• Innovation Award – Chloe McGrath, Coochiemudlo Island SLSC
• Total raised by all 11 entrants – over $500,000
Jessica Simpson from Dicky Beach Surf Life Saving Club has been named the 2018 Summer Surf Girl winner at a gala dinner at The Star Gold Coast on Saturday night.
The announcement comes after her twelve months of hard work for her surf club, and will now see her act as ambassador for Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) for the next year.
“This is incredible. I’m overwhelmed, so grateful and proud, and shocked. I had absolutely no idea it was going to be me,” Jess said.
“The whole surf club in the background were just roaring, the room was so loud. I’m just so excited.
“My whole program was about promoting my club and Surf Life Saving and to get the Dicky Beach name out there.
We’re a little club so to promote our club and what we’re about and, more importantly, the Surf Life Saving message, that was my real goal. To have Dicky Beach’s name out there was just amazing.”
It has been an incredibly busy year for Jess as she juggled the commitments of being Dicky Beach’s Summer Surf Girl as well as Club Captain, all whilst working full-time as a legal secretary.
“I raised about $99,000, I don’t know the exact figure, but that money is one hundred per cent going towards a new patrol arena first. We’ve had the same patrol arena for about 20 years and it’s falling apart every weekend, so we desperately need a new one.
“We don’t have much room in our surf club for our members anymore and we’re looking at extending the club, so the money will also be going to the extensions to make space for Nippers and new members and education programs and general lifesaving equipment.”
Along with being an SLSQ ambassador the next twelve months, Jess will be driving away in a brand new Holden Spark thanks to Zupps Mt Gravatt.
SLSQ chief operating officer and chairman of the judging panel George Hill said this year’s winner would be an exceptional role model and ambassador to SLSQ.
“Jessica impressed the judges this week not only because she spoke with passion about Surf Life Saving but also because of her commitment to Surf Life Saving,” George said.
“From growing up as a nipper with Dicky Beach, taking on various positions as she went through the teen years, and now as a young adult and mature lifesaver, she has been Club Captain for four years and Patrol Captain for over six, and done an incredible amount of hours.
“She is one of those true red and yellow surf lifesavers.”
The 11 entrants raised a over $500,000 for their surf life saving clubs around Queensland, taking the total raised by the Summer Surf Girl program to $16.7 million since it began in 1964.
“The amount that the ladies raised is incredible, and what’s important is that all that money goes back to their clubs and they get to spend that money on valuable rescue equipment and training their members,” George said.
The award for Highest Fundraiser went to Ashlee Keen from Townsville Picnic Bay SLSC, who raised more than $110,000.
“I’m just gobsmacked, the total amount that we raised was just incredible, and I’m very grateful for the support that I received over the whole year,” Ashlee said.
“It says highest fundraiser but it should say the highest fundraising club – it was a team effort and it just goes to show how much our club has put in over the year to have high quality events and continue to grow.”
Chloe McGrath from Coochiemudlo Island SLSC was announced Runner Up and also received the Innovation Award in recognition of her Emergency Services Community Awareness Day.
“My event was held at Raby Bay in the Redlands and we luckily and fortunately had all the emergency services there together, including the SES, firies, police, PCYC, cadets, ambulance, ourselves, we had Surf Life Saving Queensland there as well,” Chloe said.
“It was all to showcase our amazing abilities and passions and what we can do, and it was overall an amazing day. I hope we can build on that, and I’ve already had emails and enquiries about when we’re going to do it again next year.”
As only the second ever entrant from Coochiemudlo Island SLSC to take part in the Summer Surf Girl program, Chloe said it meant the world to her small club.
“This means everything for Coochie, absolutely. Doing this for my club and being an ambassador for them and Surf Life Saving Queensland has just been an amazing journey, and to be able to take this back to my club and show that we can do this is amazing.
“Putting our name out there, and having Coochie as a Summer Surf Girl Runner Up and Innovation Award winner, is everything our club could ask for.”
Judging was conducted throughout the week and included:
• Surf rescue beach patrol set up/water safety (board/tube rescue and CPR demonstration)
• Community education presentations to multicultural school students at Sea World
• Individual interviews with judging panel
• Final judging presentation speeches and content
• Entrant persona and working as part of a team
(Note – Fundraising totals were not part of the judging criteria and the Highest Fundraiser was awarded as a separate category.)
2018 Summer Surf Girl entrants:
• Ashlee Aguirre, Ayr – $58,993.22
• Ashlee Keen, Townsville Picnic Bay – $110,659.70
• Britt Brymer, Currumbin – $53,284.97
• Caitlin Maskey, Eimeo – $9,919.71
• Chloe McGrath, Coochiemudlo Island – $18,469.20
• Deborah Keioskie, Mackay – $22,884.04
• Jessica Simpson, Dicky Beach – $99,149.92
• Nicole Lowe, Tannum Sands – $5,439.95
• Nikki Chapman, Maroochydore – $46,575.76
• Olivia Blight, Noosa Heads – $21,325.10
• Samantha Lavery, Point Lookout – $58,147.91
Registrations for the revitalised 2019 Summer Surf Program are now open – click here to register.