Umina Beach Surf Life Saving Club’s medal-winning surfer Jemma Smith has decided to move to the Newport club to pursue her competition career.
Umina club president Mr Stephen Scahill said the club was proud of Jemma’s accomplishments and her ambition to focus on kayaking and surf-skiing.
“She has been a remarkable person for our club, both in her sporting achievements but also with how she gives back to the club,” Mr Scahill said.
“Jem’s a bit of a hero to a lot of our nippers.
“That won’t change.”
He said that Newport offered her opportunities to pursue her interests that were not available at Umina.
“There will be different events a larger club can offer her.”
He said he believed Jemma would continue to patrol the beaches at Umina.
Newport club president Mr Glen Borg said the club was excited to have Jemma as part of the competition team at Newport.
“Jemma will bring a fantastic capability to the team and she is such an incredible role model for surf and competition,” Mr Borg said.
“Not only is she a fierce iron-woman competitor, but she also competes in champion lifesaver and has all of her first aid skills down pat.
“She’s an all-round surf athlete.”
Mr Borg also said Jemma would be taking on a new training program to help her on her path to the 2024 Olympics.
“It’s the old adage: You train the way you play.
“When you have the opportunity to train with some high-performance athletes around you, you’re going to be pushed,” Mr Borg said.
“At Newport, males and females train together, pushing each other, working together – they develop an incredible respect for one another by taking on the same elements.
As a third-generation Umina lifesaver, Jemma achieved a range of titles including clinching silver at the Coolangatta Gold and competing in ironwoman competitions.
Glen Borg, Newsport Surf Life Saving Club
Interview (Maisy Rae), 13 Oct 2020
Stephen Scahill, Umina Surf Life Saving Club
Interview (Maisy Rae), 14 Oct 2020