HOSES and handcuffs were replaced with longboards and larrikinism as emergency services personnel converged on One Mile beach for the annual Guns and Hoses charity event.
Bateau Bay Fire and Rescue NSW Station Officer Andrew Grimwood has been the event’s organiser since 2013, ably assisted by Kincumber Station Officer Iain McGuire and retired Berkeley Vale Station Officer Peter Woods.
Mr Grimwood was quick to attribute the event’s success to teamwork and commitment.
“It is really a team event . . . I get a lot of help from a lot of mates to make the event a success,” he said.
The surfing competition was originally conceived by “firies” Phil Baggs and Scott Downing in 1997, as a way for some forced rest and relaxation as well as an opportunity to raise money for various charities.
Police, firefighters and paramedics battled it out on the waves, but it was all for a good cause with this year’s competition raising over $5,500.
“The police member numbers have increased steadily over the last few years, and we are seeing record numbers of them attending this year,” Mr Grimwood said.
“We also have a few interstate firies attending and that helps with the friendly rivalry. Although it is a fun competition, there is always the competitive spirit that shows itself.”
Although Mr Grimwood played down any focus on the work of emergency services, the event offers time out from occupations that are physically demanding and emotionally taxing.
“To be honest, we don’t concentrate on us as emergency workers while running and attending the event, other than to pay tribute to fellow emergency service workers who have passed on, or who are experiencing tough times,” he said.
The family-friendly event instead focused on surfing and camaraderie, with “former International Professional surfers and former State and Australian Title holders” mixing it up with “guys and girls that just love surfing”.
To date the funds have been distributed to charities including the Bowel Cancer Research Foundation, the Birubi Point Surf Life Saving Club and Cancer Council Australia.
Over $100,000 has been raised since the event commenced.
Andrew Grimwood praised local businesses who helped out with raffle prizes and at-cost goods to assist with fundraising efforts.
Open Shortboard: Davis McCartney (FRNSW)
Open Longboard: Jeremy Smith (FRNSW)
Over 45’s Shortboard: Chris Hughes (FRNSW)
Over 45’s Longboard: Chris Hughes (FRNSW)
Over 55’s Shortboard: Peter Bradbury (FRNSW)
Over 55’s Longboard: Geoff Body (FRNSW)
Stand Up Paddle Boards: Jeremy Smith (FRNSW)
Mystery: John Wilde (NSW Police)
By Jo FINNy