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Doctors give nippers a lift

SUN SMART: Nippers from the Tweed Heads Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club are preparing for a big season, with the support from local GPs at the Coolangatta Medical Centre.
SUN SMART: Nippers from the Tweed Heads Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club are preparing for a big season, with the support from local GPs at the Coolangatta Medical Centre. Janine Coveney

TWEED Heads and Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club is gearing up for a bumper season, with a record number of nippers enrolled at the club.

Based at stunning Greenmount Beach, THCSLSC has signed up more than 270 nippers so far this year - a record number - with members coming from far and wide.

Club president Vaughn Thomas said as the oldest SLSC in Queensland, the club had a lot to offer.

"I believe we have the best location on the coast,” Mr Thomas said.

"We are on one of the safest beaches because it is a southern-facing beach, protected from the large swell, beaches north of us may be closed when we have still got nippers running on our beach.”

Mr Thomas said the club attracted members from north and south of the border, with some families making the weekly trek from as far as Brisbane and Ipswich.

On top of the great beach is the great clubhouse, which recently completed stage two of its three-phase renovations, boasting one of the best views of the Gold Coast from its deck looking north towards the Surfers Paradise skyline.

"It's just a really friendly and relaxed club,” Mr Thomas said.

"I came here 12 years ago when my children were young and I'm still here.”

Coolangatta Medical Centre practice manager Jagmeet Singh gets some surf safety tips at THCSLSC.
Coolangatta Medical Centre practice manager Jagmeet Singh gets some surf safety tips at THCSLSC. Janine Coveney

The club has recently partnered with several new sponsors, including nearby Coolangatta Medical Centre, whose specialist skin cancer doctors recently gave the nippers a lesson in being sun smart.

Dr Roy Horchner, a rural GP with more than 47 years' experience and a special interest in the treatment of skin cancer, spoke to the young nippers last week.

"I tell the kids I don't want to see them in the future,” Dr Horchner joked.

"Now is the time to get them. This is an awareness and prevention program. I don't want to see any of these kids in 15 to 20 years' time.”

Dr Horchner, who spends much of his time in outback Queensland, said he believed the sun safety message was getting through.

"I think parents are aware and when they taken their kids to the beach, they wear a hat and a shirt and UV resistant clothing. They should use 50+ resistant sun cream every few hours ... especially after getting wet. I think people are more aware definitely than when I was growing up.”

Dr Dominic Bannerman, who recently took over ownership of Coolangatta Medical Centre, said he was pleased to become a sponsor of the THCSLSC program.

"At Coolangatta Medical Centre we are very close to the beach,” Dr Bannerman said.

"We'd like to support the nippers - I think it is a great club to support and get the kids involved in the awareness of the ocean and train them up to be potential lifesavers in the future.

"It is fun socially just to go there as well with the kids. I really like nippers and we are proud to support them.”

The Coolangatta Medical Centre holds special skin cancer clinics each Friday.

Topics:  greenmount surf club nipper clubs tweed heads and coolangatta slsc


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