Alex Headland lifeguard named best of the best

PULLING an unconscious man out of the water at Alexandra Headland in February with a fellow lifeguard and successfully reviving him is an experience Shane Bevan will never forget.

Watching a fit young lifeguard he'd trained pull a struggling 50-year-old swimmer onto his ski with one hand was another.

It's moments like those that are the biggest reward in his life guarding career. The national title for top life guarding he won at the weekend was just a bonus. 

On Saturday Mr Bevan became the second Queenslander to win the Surf Life Saving Australia Lifeguard of the Year.

"It's such a great achievement - I mean, outside of doing something you love doing," he said.

A former pro tour surfer and a lifeguard of 12 years, Mr Bevan has been based at Alexandra Headland for four years, and is also a member of the Alex Surf Life Saving Club.

Reflecting on the Alex Headland rescue of an unconscious man, Mr Bevan said he and his colleague Rob had been "on him in 30 to 40 seconds and brought him back to life".

HUMBLED: Life guard Shane Bevan has taken out the national Surf Life Saving DHL Lifeguard of the Year Award on Saturday. Shane on patrol at Alex Surf Club.
HUMBLED: Life guard Shane Bevan has taken out the national Surf Life Saving DHL Lifeguard of the Year Award on Saturday. Shane on patrol at Alex Surf Club. Warren Lynam

"As a lifeguard things can happen very quickly," he said. "The awareness of educating people about how you do things and why you do things that way, is very important.

"That's probably the most important thing when you're a young lifeguard."

The job included unsuccessful rescues, which were tough.

"One of the hardest things is having to pull heavy bodies across rocks," Mr Bevan said.

"It's tough. It's not just the beautiful job everyone thinks it is."

He won the top state lifeguarding title earlier this year, but didn't go to the national ceremony in Sydney on the weekend as it was outside his imagination that he would win.

"I didn't expect it. I was pretty humbled," he said.

"The first thing it thought was, 'wow, I've tried really hard but do I deserve this?'.

"Yeah, I was in shock."

He said it was good to be rewarded.

"I think it just makes you more enthusiastic about what you do."

He said his profession was not easy, but he was encouraged by the number of younger lifeguards coming into the fold.

He said he believed the recognition was because of his commitment to training, and to his own personal fitness.

"I just put it down to I do a lot of training for jetski rescues on the Sunshine Coast here and I just love that part of the job," he said.

Mr Bevan's win was "a real feather in the cap of the lifeguard service on the Sunshine Coast", former Surf Life Saving Australia president Ralph Devlin said.

"It (the SLSA award) draws in lifeguards from every state and territory and is a very competitive award," he said.

"Clearly Shane ended up as the best of the best for the season just passed, and the whole Sunshine Coast service can take credit for that.

"He's in a larger team that has really excelled over the last couple of seasons."

A group of surf lifesavers from Noosa Heads also took home a group certificate of merit from the national awards at the weekend.


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