Vaughan Skiffington, a Red Beach Surf Club member for the past 26 years, has been awarded Life Membership of the club, the highest honour that can be handed out.
The award was announced at the club’s Annual General Meeting held on 29 July. Whilst Vaughan could not be present to receive it because of an out-of-town business commitment, the Life Membership will be presented to him on a date soon to be announced.
Vaughan joined Red Beach in 1992 as a Youth Division member at age 13 and became a qualified lifeguard in 1993. At his first-ever Nationals, held in Wellington, he won two Gold medals. For seven years he was a top athlete, winning numerous National titles and gaining selection for rep teams before moving into coaching in 2000 at the age of 21.
In 2001 he was appointed as a club coach and a year later he became the club's official Sports Coach, a role he filled for 15 years. He has continued as a volunteer coach for the past three seasons.
In 2007, and for four years, he served as a pool swimming instructor during the winter months and for six years he organised and managed JuniorSurf training camps during the Christmas holiday period at Red Beach. During this time he established a new coaching structure for the club which involved younger members who were keen to become involved in coaching.
Vaughan has been a refreshed lifeguard for 23 years and an active competitor for 24 years.
He was a member of the SeniorSurf committee for 11 years before stepping down in 2013. He served on the club's Fundraising Committee for six years and was on the Coaching Advisory Panel for four years.
When Red Beach began patrolling at Pakiri in 2009, Vaughan organised the patrols for the first year at this northern holiday spot and there have been numerous rescues since the club established its presence there.
He has been involved with numerous athlete surf camps both in New Zealand and Australia and he has taken teams of young competitors to the Gold Coast to compete in the Australian Championships.
He has won the SLSNR Surf Coach of the Year on two occasions, in 2006 and 2011. He won the NZ Surf Coach award in 2006.
He holds a Distinguished Service Award with Surf Life Saving Northern Region (awarded July 2018) and a Service Award with Surf Life Saving NZ.