Lifegaurd David Field with Olivia, Joshua and Sebastian Galang of Sydney at Salt beach.
Lifegaurd David Field with Olivia, Joshua and Sebastian Galang of Sydney at Salt beach. John Gass

Surf life saving skills shared at Cudgen

WAVES of friendship seem to follow wherever David Field, a Cudgen Surf Life Saving Club member, visits.

He teaches and trains surf life saving skills mostly in Thailand and Indonesia, where he surfed in the late 70s.

Back in the early 70s, surfing at hot spots in exotic locations was almost a rite of passage for young Aussies.

They found them too in undiscovered Sumatra, and Thailand, thousands soon followed these early gurus on surfing safaris to exotic places.

That started a tourism boom but after a disproportional number of drownings in these areas David was asked by the Meridian Hotel Group Thailand to train staff in lifesaving methods and produce training manuals.

Visiting Australia is Santiago Sinsuan, from the Philippines, who is here on an exchange program.

Lifegaurd David Field at Salt Beach.
Lifegaurd David Field at Salt Beach. John Gass

David had previously met and trained Santiago through a Philippines Red Cross program in 2011/2012, also producing manuals on the latest life saving techniques.

This time Santiago's visit to Australia was made possible through a generous scholarship program, sponsored by Russell Zhan through the Cudgen SLSC, which Russell is a member of, and is the first on this program.

David has been updating Santiago in the various training aspects including first aid, and possible disaster response method, as they are in the areas affected by tsunami and typhoons.

Santiago is impressed with the club's nippers program.

"There's nothing like this at home, it's good to start young," he said.

"It not only teaches safety and discipline but, body and brain are co-ordinated.

"I see the kids are learning to look after their beaches, too," Santiago said.

"Here, it's so clean, I had a swim in Cudgen Creek. We could never do that, it would be too dirty."

I asked him of his impressions of our community: "Well it's clean and peaceful. When I walk mornings on the beach, everybody acts as if they know me and smile and say 'good morning'.


David said his involvement in overseas projects was a way of sharing knowledge with our Asia/Pacific neighbours.

To date, 35 local life savers have joined him in training overseas, and, next year, head to Vietnam.



Some of the training included:

Beach patrols

Helicopter rescues (Lismore)

Sydney headquarters communication centre

Little Nippers set up and training

SLSA surf inflatable operations

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