Friday, 19 February 2021

Next week the old Long Reef SLSC building will start to come down to make way for a brand new, purpose-built clubhouse and storage facilities, café and public amenities block.

With so much history wrapped up in those old walls, we caught up with 74-years young life member and President, Peter Kinsey, to reminisce about some of the fun and drama over the 59 years he has been a member.  

Peter’s long career includes two World Championships in Masters Surfboats and eight Australian Masters Championship titles. Along with being a life member, he has been President on two occasions, with his latest stint being the past six years.

“In the early 1950s six members came across from Collaroy and leased part of the bus shelter on Pittwater Road from the Department of Roads as the clubhouse. Some years later they relocated to the current boat sheds of the existing club and by the end of that decade a proper clubhouse was built – albeit without a kitchen or running water at first!  

Not many people had cars in the day, so we would often crash in the clubhouse “bunk room” following a surf carnival and train the next day.

I was a surf boat competitor all my life but one day on the water in 1968 is etched in my memory. It was a wild and woolly day on the water and our surf boat crew were training for a tour of New Zealand – a club first to go on an international tour. We saw a boat containing four men capsize off the bombora and raced to assist. Tragically, one of the four men drowned, but it could have been so much worse. We were so lucky to be out there training that day and were able to rescue the others in the group.”

Along with the sad stories, come the good, the memorable and the cheeky ones too.

“One New Years Day many, many years ago, after a big night with the clubbies, we set up the patrol tent at 6am. The challenge went out (and was accepted) to go for dip with ONLY our patrol caps on. The early morning beach goers were quite impressed that our patrol was set up so early, but little did they realise what had just happened!”

With over 900 members, Long Reef SLSC is well patronised and the new building will have the club ready to meet the demands of life saving and the community in general in the 21st Century.  Their friendly club usually includes in excess of 500 nippers but numbers have deliberately been reduced this season to make it COVID-safe.

“What I like most about this club is it is very friendly with outstanding comradery amongst the members. You may not know someone’s name, but you acknowledge and appreciate everybody. I have never considered being part of any other club.”

While Peter is sad to take his last steps past the existing clubhouse he is looking forward to the new era.

“We first approached Council in November 2003 - 17 years and 3 months and 16 days ago. There have been lots of iterations about where it was going to be and the design, but we have listened to the community and asked them what they wanted. The design nestles comfortably into our beautiful natural environment and ensures we have met the community expectations and well as the club’s needs.”

The rebuild is expected to take 12 months, weather permitting, and we will provide updates throughout the project. Find out more

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