STEPHEN Kerr is a 25-time gold medallist at Victorian surf lifesaving championships and a former competitor on the national stage.
His involvement with the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club extends two decades, with four years served as president.
But none of that prepared him for when he received life membership of the Lady Bay club.
Warrnambool SLSC officials awarded Kerr and Rebel Noter life memberships at their end-of-season presentation night.
The awards are in honour of their years of service to the club and achievements competing at state and national level.
“I’m very humbled to be inducted into the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club life membership, it’s a great honour,” Kerr, 31, said.
“You don’t set about joining the club and doing what you do to get this acknowledgement.
“I thought in maybe five or 10 years’ time if I kept hanging around the place and contributing it might be something that comes along.”
Kerr joined Warrnambool SLSC as a nipper in 1994 and gained his bronze and silver medallions in the following years.
His list of achievements include being board and ski captain, vice-president and president along with clubman of the year in 2009-10.
He became the first Victorian in 20 years to make the open board final at Australian titles in 2004 and placed 26th at the iconic Coolangatta Gold in 2008. “It’s something I’ve been very lucky to do and I’ve enjoyed every moment of the competition, the ups and the downs,” Kerr said.
“It’s given me a great experience in life. I’ve seen a lot of the country travelling around and getting exposure to various areas.”
Noter, 44, said he was likewise surprised to receive Warrnambool SLSC life membership — “you don’t expect those sort things”.
His involvement stems back to 1999 when his daughter Mali started nippers. His wife Sharon and father-in-law Ron are also life members.
Noter has since become one of the most qualified surf lifesavers in the region, completing more than 80 Life Saving Victoria awards.
He is a former club captain and president and is the current Far Western Regional officer, overseeing the management of lifesaving from Port Campbell to Portland.
In 2008, Noter earned the LSV Graeme Long Memorial award and went on to become the Surf Life Saving Australia volunteer of the year.
“It’s been really good. I find it really rewarding just to be involved and providing a service,” he said.
Noter, who shifted from Mildura to Warrnambool in 1990 to play basketball, said surf lifesaving clubs had an invaluable role during summer.
“It’s one of those things, you’re providing a service for the community and educating people in safety around the beach, which is really important.”