Surf Life Saving Queensland's outstanding young lifesavers
Surf Life Saving Queensland's outstanding young lifesavers
13 July 2016

A posse of Queensland’s most outstanding young surf lifesavers has gathered at The University of Queensland.

The surf lifesavers, aged 18-30, were selected for their dedication and leadership potential, representing clubs from Cairns to the Gold Coast.

The three-day Surf Life Saving Queensland Leadership Excellence Program developed and harnessed their communication, teamwork and management skills.

In welcoming the young leaders, UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Prof Peter Høj said UQ and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) forged a partnership last year as the organisations shared many similar values.

“We chose to be the key sponsor of this event because nurturing and equipping future leaders to create change is the most important thing we do as a university,” he said.

“We are pleased to share our expertise and facilities with you to help you develop the skills and confidence to become leaders of influence.”

Prof Høj told the group he got “seriously dumped” during his first experience of Australian surf after arriving from Denmark, which made him appreciate the danger of Australian beaches and the importance of the surf life saving movement.

He said he was heartened to see so many young women among the selected young leaders, with 30 of the 42 participants female.

The program included teamwork and physical challenges, a boot camp session and workshops on topics including conflict management, mentoring and leadership as well as a workshop with UQ Business School Associate Professor Remi Ayoko.

Prof Ayoko, an award-winning researcher in areas including conflict management, leadership, diversity and team work, spoke to the group about servant leadership and the importance of followership for community service organisations such as SLSQ.

She also advised the young leaders about managing the emotions and conflict that may arise during their duties as life savers. 

SLSQ membership development manager Brenda Lofthouse said the program theme covered natural, economic and social sustainability.

She said the participants represented the future of surf lifesaving.

“We aim to provide a clear pathway for them to build upon their skills and eventually transition into more formal leadership positions within their clubs and the wider organisation,” she said.

“On behalf of SLSQ, I’d like to thank and acknowledge The University of Queensland for its vital support of this initiative.”

Media: Danielle Koopman,, 07 3346 0700