Little in stature but giant in heart, Surfers Paradise local Chloe Boland has been named the state’s top nipper in a fitting end to Queensland Women’s Week.
Today she was formally recognised by Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) for her outstanding efforts, awarded the 2016 Breaka Under-14 Junior Surf Lifesaver of the Year award.
The announcement was made this afternoon in a special presentation at the Queensland Youth Surf Life Saving Championships at North Burleigh Beach on the Gold Coast.
Chloe, who was representing the South Coast Branch as a finalist, beat five other nominees from across the state for the award, which remains the highest individual accolade for Queensland’s young surf lifesavers.
It marks the first time a nipper from Surfers Paradise SLSC has taken out the prestigious award.
“It’s such a shock; I wasn’t expecting that at all! It’s such an honour and I’m so happy right now, I couldn’t be happier,” Chloe said.
“This award means so much to me and my club especially, being the first ever winner of the South Coast Branch [award] for my surf club, and now this! I’m glad I could do this for my surf club.
“Everyone who was a finalist was deserving of this award, but surf lifesaving is my whole life. Every weekend I’m either down on patrols or doing water safety for nippers. I couldn’t imagine it any other way,” she said.
“I’d just like to say thank you to Breaka Flavoured Milk for making this happen.”
SLSQ membership development manager Brenda Lofthouse congratulated Chloe on her win, saying it was a genuine reflection of her dedication and passion for surf lifesaving.
“While Chloe is still quite young in her lifesaving career, she demonstrates a maturity well above and beyond her years,” she said.
“This award is the highest individual honour that can be given to our younger members, so it certainly goes to show the level of respect that Chloe has earned, not just from her club-mates but from the wider surf lifesaving community as well,” she said.
The Year 9 student qualified for her Surf Rescue Certificate at the start of summer, and since then has volunteered almost 60 hours to help patrol one of Australia’s busiest beaches. She was recently nominated for a Rescue of the Month award with her patrol group for their efforts in assisting a swimmer from the surf suffering an asthma attack.
“Despite her relatively young age, Chloe’s already developed into an extremely valuable and well-respected member. She’s extremely active with beach patrols, mentors younger nippers and is always putting her hand up to help with fundraising whenever she’s needed by the club,” Ms Lofthouse said.
Chloe was one of six finalists representing their club and branch from around the state, including George Taifalos (North Queensland), William Muscat (North Barrier), Zachary Paskin (Wide Bay Capricorn), Madison Douglas (Sunshine Coast) and Gemma Glenny (Point Danger).
Chloe was presented with the award after an application and interview process to consider all elements of her contribution to the movement.
“All of our nominees were amazing. They are all wonderful young people who have a real passion and dedication to the movement, and I congratulate them all on being recognised at this level,” Ms Lofthouse said.
“Chloe is not just one of six young surf lifesavers that love being involved; she’s among over 10,000 junior surf lifesavers across the state who enjoy being active in surf lifesaving and get involved in all the opportunities that the movement can provide.
“Surf Life Saving Queensland is an organisation built on the strength of our membership and, with young members like Chloe and our other finalists in the movement, I think it’s safe to say that we’ll have a pretty strong future ahead of us,” Ms Lofthouse said.