With Swanny Surf Club about to kick off another season, we thought back to the season cut short. How did the Management Committee prepare for the pandemic? The answer was to assemble a Sub-Committee to advise them. There isn’t much that can’t be solved by having another meeting!

Swanny Shorebreak honours those who advised, the COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Committee, as our Clubbies of the Month, by interviewing Dr James, Nurse Jen and Dr Leesa.

So after washing our hands and disinfecting our keyboard, Swanny Shorebreak managed to find the time to email out some hard-hitting investigative journalism questions to CASC.

¼ ½ ¾ 4⁄4 5⁄5

How long have you been at Swanny?

Dr J – Joined in the 89/90 season, well before I was old enough.◊

Nurse J – I have been at Swanny since the 1997/98 season (I actually think I did my Bronze about the same time as Jules)♦. Tony Leavo was my instructor and nearly killed me…any weather we had to train –  no mercy.

Dr L – I joined at Open Day 2009°

How did you come to be at Swanny? 

Dr J – In Ric Mahoney’s Landrover.♠ (He was the Nippers Coordinator for years and lived next door to me)

Nurse J – I dated a member of Cott Surf Club when I was 17 ( apparently Kev and Tony Leavo used to paddle with him…little did I know). I didn’t really know much about surf lifesaving as I was a Competition Pool Lifesaver and hated sand in my hair. Not a lot of ocean swimming up north with the crocodiles. The reason I came to Swanny was because I met a certain rugby player – Kevin White, who told me he was a member at Swanny and I should come down and be a ‘real lifesaver’!  Not to be outdone, I came down to Swanny and haven’t left.♥

Dr L – Soph Dinnes brought me down (we have been friends since Day 1 of Uni in 2007) as she had thought about joining as a way of meeting new people and spending time at the beach. I signed up on the day – it seemed so welcoming and lots of people our age who wanted to give things a go, despite not being the BEST athlete, “not lapped, not last” as the Swanny motto goes. I haven’t looked back and am still here 12 seasons later (with a 1 year gap seeing as I couldn’t patrol in Perth when living in NZ♣, the commute was slightly too far).

What qualifications/expertise do you have that enabled you to contribute to the COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Committee?

Dr J – I’ve been involved in the training and developing plans for treating COVID-19 patients in my day-jobs at Fiona Stanley Hospital and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Nurse J – Included in my day job is the Emergency Management portfolio for KEMH«, which as it turns out means writing and implementing the pandemic plan for the service. On top of this I am an active member of the AUSMAT» team and had been sent to Christmas Island to assist with the quarantining of the first repatriated Australians from Wuhan – China and then to Burnie, Tasmania to lead the Infection Control and Maternity response along with my AUSMAT colleagues and the ADF‹. Every day since Jan 31 I have been working with the health teams to make sure our response to COVID-19 is evidence based and protects staff, their families, patients and the community. I have seen more of Australia and the Indian Ocean Territories, cleaned my kitchen in quarantine and finished projects that were just waiting for my time this year…COVID silver lining.

Dr L – I’m an Emergency Specialist, now working at SCGH ED¹, JHC ED² and RFDS³ (because who doesn’t like staying super busy juggling 3 jobs!?). At the time that the State COVID-19 response was being ramped up, I was working full-time at RFDS and experiencing first-hand being on the front line managing suspected COVID-19 patients. Being the SLSWA↑ Honorary Medical Advisor and on the SLSWA Board also put me in a position where I had a close understanding of the SLSA↓ and SLSWA response, and was able to provide advice directly to training/education and lifesaving at state level. The COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Committee was made up of an amazing group – having anaesthetics, emergency and nursing with first-hand experiences, allowing us to provide evidence-based advice to the Club Management Committee.

What is your COVID-19/quarantine/social distancing/vaccine tip/hack?

Dr J – Don’t leave the State. If the borders open: social distance again! If things kick off and you find yourself unable to social distance, I reckon a Swanny competition cap could be fashioned into a make-shift mask (which would not meet any scientific standard but encrusted with enough salt and sand may improve filtering efficacy ∑).

Nurse J – Florence Nightingale introduced hand hygiene in 1854 during the Crimean War and realised the importance of infection and the spread of disease and how something so simple is so effective: Wash your hands!

Social distancing, washing your hands, refraining from shaking hands, laughing or chatting closely together, oh and kissing through a cloth were all messages from the Spanish Flu….despite modern medicine we haven’t come much further and the same messages still apply. Not sure about kissing through a mask ∞ though….

Dr L – Buy all the toilet paper and hand sanitiser!!  But seriously, every 2 weeks I buy more toilet paper just in case… I don’t want to be short if a 2nd wave hits us (and if it does, take note: I have spare if you’re short a roll or 2)! Also – get out and buy some home gym equipment and a PS4 before they all run out again, I had to isolate for 3 days when I was unwell awaiting COVID-19 swabs and these were a great help passing the time √.

Who is your favourite ironman/ironwoman?

Dr J – I’ve not bothered following anyone since Trevor Hendy – what a legend. Was it Shannon Eckstein that Cocky and I lined up against in Aussies 2010, I reckon I beat him to knee deep water… £

Nurse J – Favourite iron man Trevor Hendy ¥. favourite iron woman Karla Gilbert. €

Dr L – Shannon Eckstein of course. As is obvious by my cheesy grin at Aussies at Scarborough when Annie, Bernie and I decided to compete in the Over 24s surf race straight final (we were the only girls, it was mostly dominated by national ironmen!)

Favourite food? 

Dr J – Coffee – from the new SNSLSC coffee machine.

Nurse J – I don’t have a favourite food, I just love good tasty food prepared with love….oh I hate offal or anything with offal in it.

Dr L – My Mum’s homemade meat pie – it’s normally a birthday treat.

Plans for next season? (Also what were you going to do at the Club last season but couldn’t?)

Dr J – GOLD MEDALLION and party at Annual Dinner.

Nurse J – Plans….always going to get fitter…still going to get fitter, learn to read waves better so I can catch downwind Swells.

Dr L – This season for me is all about continuing education for all of our Club Members as well as focusing on my own wellbeing, encouraging others to step into leading roles with Higher Awards training and succession planning for Higher Awards and Proficiency. Last season – I was super excited about the Nerd Events at State Level, it was time for some more Swanny Gold, but we will be even more ready to compete come 2021 if States and Aussies go ahead.

What are your plans for being at the Club and training this season? 

Dr J – Get out in the ocean on my resurrected ski. ≅  I’ve got to start swimming training again too.

Nurse J – Skis, can’t run…maybe I’ll surprise myself and everyone else and do the Long Run ≠ .. can I get a really long head start? Nippers water safety … always fun and love seeing the kids develop over the season.

Dr L – Get fitter and faster so I can be competitive in more than just the Nerd Events (still forever my favourites, First Aid, Champion Lifesaver and Champion Patrol) – I have a new board ≈ on the way and have also convinced my partner to take up ski paddling.

How will you protect your and others health whilst doing it?

Dr J – Stay home if sick, use the various alcoholic substances around the Club for cleaning one’s mitts.
Stay fit, to improve your chances of not ending up in a box when the next wave⇓ comes.

Nurse J – How am I going to keep myself and others safe? Staying away from everyone if I am unwell, shower at home if I don’t need one at the Surf Club⇑, encourage hand hygiene and distance where able. We don’t want an outbreak shutting us down in summer or at all.

Dr L – It is important to emphasise that if you’re not feeling well, stay at home (and get a COVID-19 test⇔ as per the State advice!), ensuring you can help keep yourself and other members at the Club safe and healthy going forward.

What do you like about Swanny?

Dr J – The legends who show up to train, patrol, have a good time and don’t take themselves too seriously.

Nurse J – I love the family atmosphere of Swanny, the camaraderie..OMG the baby factory, can’t wait to see them all join nippers.

Dr L – Swanny is a big happy and welcoming family – one that I am proud to be a member of. Even after 2 years away (across 1 full season and 2 half seasons) I felt like I’d never left – with the exception of heaps of new faces mixed amongst the old.

Anything else that is funny or interesting?

Dr J – Do you remember the Indian Ocean Classic, where they had an Ironman event which ran 25km from Scarbs to Cott and back? When they were doing the run along the nude beach some portly dune dweller came up and ran along one of the ironmen and it was broadcast live on TV from the nearby media helicopter. I still don’t know why they haven’t run that event again! I recall the commentators didn’t realise what was happening for a while… Was quite funny and I’ve just remembered it having thought about Ironmen.


◊ Aged 6 years, back when Nippers started at 7 years!

♦ Bronze in November 1997 with Ben Leonard whereas Jules was March 1998.

° 12 years less 1 day after Nurse J and 18 years and 11 months and 1 week after Dr J.

♠ Is it true you sat in the spare tyre on the bonnet?

♥Swanny or Kev!

♣They have beaches and surf clubs!

«King Edward Memorial Hospital

»Australian Medical Assistance Teams

‹Australian Defence Force

¹Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital Emergency Department

²Joondalup Health Campus Emergency Department

³Royal Flying Doctor Service

↑Surf Life Saving Western Australia

↓Surf Life Saving Australia

∑ Briggy will be very safe!

∞ Therapy or resuscitation?

√ Whereas the toilet paper was a great help passing the …

⇓COVID not the Shorebreak!

⇑What’s wrong with the showers at the Club?

⇔40 questions multiple choice?

≅ Do tell!

≠ Yes…

≈ Ironing?

£ Ky Hurst and I reckon you didn’t!

¥ Used to have an advert for Viva Brits.

€ Used to have an advert for dairy products.


¼ Dr J – Dressed as a banana in pyjamas in COVID training for RFDS. Left to right: Ando. Rear: Ambulance.

½ Nurse J –  Emergency Department Tasmania. Left to right: Anonymous soft drink, Jen.

¾ Nurse J – Christmas Island locals. Left to right: Jen, Robber Crab

4⁄4 Dr L – In full PPE. Left to right: Budget PPE (no face shield no smock), Full PPE (including gloves), Practically Full PPE (face shield and smock, but no gloves to hold the mobile phone for the selfie). Leesa is the one in the PPE.

5⁄5 Dr L – With Shannon Eckstein. Left to right: Bernie or Annie, Shannon or Caine, Leesa, Annie or Bernie.

Who is Who:

Management Committee – a group of people that manages the affairs of a Club – a governing body.
Sub-Committee – a group of people that manages the affairs of a submarine – a governing body.
Dr James – James Anderson or Ando ; once owner of a quality ski, Swanny Life Member.
Nurse Jen – Jennifer White or Jen ; once dated a ski paddler, Swanny Long Service Member.
Dr Leesa – Leesa Equid or Lees ; wants her date to paddle a ski, Swanny Long Service Member.
CASC – COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Committee. I so wanted to make the acronym to be COAS, but failed.
Jules – Julian Gibbings or Jules ; once bought a quality ski cheaply, Swanny Life Member.
Tony Leavo – Antony Leaversuch or Leavo ; owner of many skis over time, Swanny Life Member.
Ric Mahoney – Ric Mahoney or Ric ; once Nipper Coordinator, never paddled a ski, Swanny Long Service Member.
Kev – Kevin White or Kev ; only found on double skis with Jen, Swanny Life Member.
Soph Dinnes – Sophie Dinnes or Sophie ; wants to go ski-ing but on the snow, Swanny Long Service Member.
Florence Nightingale – OM, RRC, DStJ was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing.
Spanish Flu – also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus.
PS4 – Playstation 4 gaming console, with a Winter Olympics game that includes downhill ski-ing.
Trevor Hendy – Won six Australian Open Ironman titles and four consecutive World Ironman titles. Advertised Viva-Brits breakfast cereal.
Shannon Eckstein – Won nine Australian Open Ironman titles and one consecutive World Ironman titles. Advertised Nutri-Grain breakfast cereal.
Cocky – Brenton Laws or Cocky ; Married to five time Club Ski Champion, Swanny Long Service Member.
Karla Gilbert – Won three Australian Open Ironwoman titles. Advertised Devondale and Meadow Lea dairy products.
Annie – Anne-Marie Juengling (nee Williams) or Annie ; Bernie’s sister, Swanny Long Service Member.
Bernie – Bernadette Williams or Bernie ; Annie’s sister, Swanny Long Service Member.
My Mum – Leesa’s Mum.
Ben Leonard – Joined way back when younger and returned recently, Swanny Active Member.
Briggy – Peter Brigg or Briggy ; once took a ski from a verge pickup and repaired it, Swanny Life Member.
Ky Hurst – Won four Australian Open Ironman titles and ten Australian Surf Race titles. Advertised non breakfast products.
Courtney Hancock – Won two Australian Open Ironwoman titles. Advertised Nutri-Grain breakfast cereal.
Caine – Caine Eckstein, broke the Guinness World Record for most pull-ups in 24 hours, completing 4,210 pull-ups. After subsequently losing the record, in 2016 he regained it after completing 7,620. I’m having whatever he eats for breakfast!