PHOTO GALLERY: Champion lifesaver back where it all began
SURF LIFESAVING: Zach Paskin got much more than skills development and practical race advice out of the nippers training camp at Yeppoon at the weekend.
The 16-year-old from Yeppoon was invited to spend five days training with the ironman squad at the highly regarded Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club on the Gold Coast.
"I was surprised, I wasn't expecting that,” the St Brendan's student said of the invite, which he hopes to take up before the school year starts later this month.
"I'm pretty chuffed.
"It will be a great opportunity to train with some elite athletes and coaches down there.
"It will be good to see how much training they put in and just what's required to compete at the top level.”
Paskin has been involved in surf lifesaving for 10 years and has competed at the North Australian titles and represented Queensland Country several times.
His ultimate goal is to reach the ranks of the prestigious Nutri-Grain Ironman Series and said the time spent at Currumbin would be a valuable stepping stone towards realising that.
Paskin was one of 36 athletes aged from seven to 17 who took part in the two-day camp run by former Yeppoon surf lifesaver and world championship medallist Britt Brymer, who now competes with Currumbin.
The camp, which also involved Nutri-Grain Series ironwoman Tara Coleman, was designed to give aspiring competitors an insight into life as an elite surf lifesaver.
The participants were put through a series of beach and surf drills on the Saturday and then had the chance to implement the skills learned in a competitive scenario on the Sunday.
Brymer said she felt right at home running the clinic at the club where she laid the platform for her impressive career.
"It was pretty amazing, and it was nice to see some familiar faces who are still involved with the club,” sher said.
"There is definitely plenty of talent coming through the junior ranks in the region, which was really encouraging.
"Hopefully we showed them they have the potential to be anything they want to be and even if they aren't winning the races, they can still be out there having a good time participating with their friends.”
Brymer is involved in the Surf Life Saving Queensland's Summer Surf Girl and decided on the camp as a way to give back to the club where her career started.
She wants it to become an annual event that will help foster relations between the Yeppoon and Currumbin clubs and establish a clear pathway for regional athletes such as Paskin.