Buddy Lucas Leadership Program

The Buddy Lucas Leadership Scholarship is generously funded by Denis Black, Patron of SLSNR and Life member of both SLSNZ and SLSNR. It provides prospective leaders the opportunity to develop and expand their knowledge of Surf Life Saving and develop their own personal skills.

Buddy Lucas (pictured above) was a legend of Surf Lifesaving in Northern Region and at his home club of Piha. He joined the Piha SLSC in 1944, gaining his lifeguard award the year after. From there, he went on to win multiple National titles in the surf race and made valuable contributions on the Piha Committee as Club Captain and as President for nearly two decades. Along with this, he received Service and Distinguished Service awards at a Club, District and New Zealand level and was awarded a highly prestigious Life Membership of the Piha SLSC. Buddy remains as one of the pre-eminent leaders within our organization and the Buddy Lucas Leadership Program is aimed to foster young leaders within our movement.

People remember Buddy as someone who was not harsh or critical but always had a kind, friendly word. He managed to keep above the rows, arguments, factions and feuds at Piha. Friend Rodger Curtice said at his funeral that he was “modest in victory and generous in defeat, Buddy set an outstanding example as a sportsman and his quiet demeanour made him popular with thousands of New Zealanders”.

The Buddy Lucas Leadership Program is made up of three pillars. The first of these is the California Lifeguard Exchange, the second is the Senior Leadership Experience and the third is the Surf Life Saving Australia National Leadership College.

Since 1969 senior lifeguards have been selected from clubs in the Northern Region, to visit lifeguard agencies in California. The exchange is part of the Buddy Lucas Leadership Program and is a structured learning experience, and is an opportunity for clubs to nominate exceptional lifeguards who show the ability to enhance surf lifesaving in this country. 

With the assistance of the host organisation – California Surf Life Saving Association – the exchange delegates are given the opportunity to participate in patrolling activities, to witness and practice the use of different types of rescue equipment, and to observe alternative beach management programmes and administrative structures.

Successful applicants will demonstrate a high level of knowledge of New Zealand’s lifeguarding arrangements, be highly proficient in a range of practical patrolling and rescue skills, and have the ability to impart this to others through prepared presentations and coordination of hosting duties on their return.

Selectors will be looking for candidates who can successfully evaluate the benefits of the alternative systems and techniques they observe, have had a consistent involvement in SLS over a long period of time and who will continue to actively participate in the development and administration of surf lifesaving following the exchange (i.e. have earned it, will learn and develop from it, and will continue to contribute after it).

Applications for the 2022-23 exchange are now open, click here to apply.

Applications close 26th February 2023.


California New Zealand
2022/23 Aidan Goodman Del Mar 2023 TBC
Dominic Rodarti San Clemente TBC
2021/22 Cancelled due to COVID 2022 Cancelled due to COVID
2020/21 Cancelled due to COVID 2021 Cancelled due to COVID
2019/20 Sierra Paige Huntington City 2020 Cancelled due to COVID
Wyatt Muller Newport Beach
2018/19 Natalie May Huntington City 2019 Jacob Rennie Mairangi Bay
Devon Beebe Long Beach Mark Gordon Bethells Beach
2017/18 Taylor Mellinger San Clemente 2018 Ella Boyens Raglan
Jennifer Schulman Huntington City Sam Walters Mairangi Bay
2016/17      Duncan Wilson Newport Beach 2017 Dan Short         Mairangi Bay/United North Piha
Michael Pritchard                            Newport Beach Catie Mulrennan United North Piha
2015/16 Tyler Wilson Huntington City 2016 Zane Rademaker United North Piha
Parker Richards Camp Pendleton Pia Goldsmith Bethells Beach
2014/15 Vince Fiamengo Seal Beach 2015 Patria Harris Mangawhai Heads
John Pritchard Newport Beach Brydhi Stark Muriwai
2013/14 Jack Turner Newport Beach 2014 Sam Jenkins United North Piha
Shane Elder Ventura County Katherine Reardon United North Piha/Muriwai
2012/13 Taylor McGowan Huntington City 2013 Leif Neilson United North Piha
Paul Steinberg Santa Cruz City Laura Josephson Mairangi Bay
2011/12 Andrew Czer LA County 2012 Rob Pidgeon United North Piha
Colin O’Neil Ventura State Dan McCormack Muriwai
2010/11 Morgan McGowan Huntington City 2011 Sam Comport Bethells Beach
Marcos Pimentel San Diego Lauren Gibbs Bethells Beach
2009/10 Derek Doler Ventura County 2010 Ashley Matuschka Muriwai
Nick Sullivan Huntington City Andrew Lancaster Muriwai
2008/09 Ian Christensen LA County 2009 Faron Turner Orewa
Kirsten Buhagiar Laguna Beach Claire Fitzjames Omaha
2007/08 Jesse Heydorf Huntington State 2008 Mare Haitsma Ruakaka/Kariaotahi
Alex Scurr Newport Beach Lindsay Hill Whangarei Heads
2006/07 Doug Leach Huntington City 2007 Mason Dray-Hogg Bethells Beach
Ryan Steele Huntington State Daniel Dwen Sunset Beach
2005/06 Peter Belden Newport Beach 2006 Andy Kent Mairangi Bay
Chris Geldet Camp Pendleton Nick Tomkins Orewa
2004/05 Linsi Huseman Newport Beach 2005 Janie Meikle Mangawhai Heads
Chad Wennerstorm Cal State/Pismo Laura Spinks Sunset Beach
2003/04 Ryan Saca Santa Cruz City 2004 Emma Roberts Muriwai
Brian McConnel Huntington City Kate Fisher Mangawhai Heads
2002/03 Lindsay Ortega Huntington City 2003 Patrick Anderson Muriwai
Rebecca Levine Huntington State Brent Phillips  Sunset Beach
2001/02 Gennifor Amthor Seal Beach 2002 Jason Corlett United North Piha
Casey Graham Port Hueneme Nick Fryer United North Piha
2000/01 Jon Mitchell Newport Beach 2001 Shane Coward United North Piha
Rob Maier Newport Beach Dean Storey Mangawhai Heads
1999/00 Charlie Dall Newport Beach 2000 Willy Flapper Muriwai
Shannon Svenson California State Shannon Roberts Muriwai
1998/99 Clint Dial Oceanside 1999 Shawn Wanden Karekare
David Jenkins California State Katrina Knill Karekare
1997/98 Shea Valero Silver Strand State 1998 Fred Noble Piha
Robin Jacobsen Newport Beach Matt Craig Karekare
1996/97 Eric Roberts Seal Beach 1997 Dean Bunbury Karekare
Colla Anderson Santa Cruz State Lisa Weldale Piha
1995/96 Charlotte Smits Van Oyen LA County 1996 Brett Sullivan Piha
Todd Bartlett Huntington City Mike Wilson Mangawhai Heads
1994/95 Chris Graham Newport Beach 1995 Guy Roger Muriwai
David Royal Santa Cruz City James Taylor Sunset Beach
1993/94  Ryan Beull Santa Cruz City 1994 Tai Flavell Mangawhai Heads
1992/93 Eric Ching Huntington City Nigel Smith Muriwai
Jennifer Price San Diego City 1993 Geoffry Beggs Omaha
1991/92 Tim Ciccheto San Diego City Bryce Swainson Ruakaka
Elizabeth Kubis San Clemente State 1992 Steve Westlake Karekare
1990/91 Pat Graham Huntington City Johan Boekenhuisen Piha
Michael Bartlett Huntington City 1991 Raymond Cowper Orewa
1989/90 Cary Smith Santa Cruz City Bryany Coutanche United North Piha
Manya Delisio Los Angeles City 1990 Danny Tenheuval Muriwai
1988/89 Kyle Lindo Huntington City Steve Butler United North Piha
Barrett Tester Huntington State 1989 Graham Beaumont United North Piha
1987/88 Jeff Koller Huntington City Hayden Campbell Waipu
Herb White Huntington State 1988 Tim Jago Muriwai
1986/87 Finn McClafferty Huntington State Paul Flemming Waipu
Steven Halus San Clemente State 1987 Paul Taylor United North Piha
1985/86 Kai Weisser Huntington City Brett Marshall United North Piha
Michael Ashe Lake Mission Viejo 1986 Mark Flavell Ruakaka
1984/85 Mike Gifford Huntington City Mellisa Holkenhal Mangawhai Heads
Rick Gould Santa Cruz City 1985 John Scott Mangawhai Heads
1983/84 Mark Reddick Huntington City Mike Van Der Mespel Red Beach
Debbie Friedman Huntington State 1984 Duncan McKenzie United North Piha
1982/83 Bob Gerard San Clemente City John Alderman Red Beach
Fred Forsch San Clemente State 1983 Tony Steur Mangawhai Heads
1981/82 Rene Taylor Huntington City Peter Van Den Berg Red Beach
Greg Page San Clemente City 1982 Rob Ferguson United North Piha
Grant Fletcher Solana Greg Hall Mairangi Bay
1980/81 Michael Guest Laguna Beach 1981 Sharon Flavell Mangawhai Heads
Matt McCormick Newport Beach Shaun Thornton Muriwai
1979/80 Greg Crow Huntington City 1980 Geoff Ward Muriwai
Rob Paterson Laguna Beach Rod Bremner Piha
1978/79 Larry Robertson Huntington City 1979 Graham Cleary Muriwai
Roger Gaymond San Diego City Ted Marshall Sunset Beach
Jeff Mink San Diego City Finlay Herbert Muriwai
1977/78 Mark Klosterman Laguna Beach 1978 Michael Scott Mangawhai Heads
Tom Redwitz Laguna Beach Malcolm Beattie Sunset Beach
Larry Moore San Clemente City 1977 John Dormer Muriwai
1976/77 Mike Quinlan Huntington City Stephen Pye Karekare
Mike Huwe Manhattan 1976 Robert Johnson Sunset Beach
Jeff Giordino San Diego City David Dinnen Mangawhai Heads
1975/76 Tony Giedt San Diego City Bruce Dalgleish Red Beach
Tom McHale San Diego City 1975
1973/74 1974
1971/72 Doug D’Arnall Huntington City 1973
Bill Richardson Huntington City
1970/71 1972
1969/70 Max Bowman Huntington City
Logan Lockabey Newport Beach 1971 Rob Leary Muriwai
Phil Stubbs San Clemente City Steve Allen Muriwai
1969 John Thomas Muriwai
1974/75  Bill Richardson Lifeguard training school at Muriwai
Bill Owen  Lifeguard training school at Muriwai
1975/76 Vince Moorehouse Leadership course Auckland

The purpose of the Buddy Lucas Senior Leadership Experience (SLE) is to challenge and develop members thinking and preparing the future leaders of the organization. SLE focuses on personal development and leadership development rather than specific Surf Life Saving skills. The Buddy Lucas Senior Leadership Experience is a three day, two night course.

The course is designed to be a surprise and a challenging experience to help build comradery, personal attributes and leadership for senior lifeguards to use through life and their lifeguarding career. This differs from Intermediate & Senior Guard schools as this is primarily leadership and not lifeguarding focused.

Although this course is run through surf lifesaving, the aim of this weekend is to take you well outside of the normal surf lifesaving environment. The course will be physically and mentally demanding but expect this to be built upon by senior instructors from within the region as well as guest speakers that will help teach you skills that you will need through the course.


  • 18yrs of age or older
  • SLSNZ member (Current on SLSNZ Database)
  • Refreshed Lifeguard
  • Club Endorsement

Applications for the 2023-24 season are now open. Applications close on Sunday 27th August 2023

Candidate application: https://forms.gle/quj7kBw1Cs3ZPeLD9

Instructor application: https://forms.gle/rnTMttTJZWQhCbgn9

Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Leadership College (NLC) is an annual leadership and development program recognizing young leaders in Surf Life Saving aged between 20 and 30 years. Participants come from a variety of clubs, roles and SLS backgrounds.


The Surf Life Saving Australia National Leadership College is a pillar of the Buddy Lucas Leadership Program, generously funded by Denis Black.


The NLC provides an exciting opportunity for young people within the movement to further develop their leadership skills and continue to positively contribute to the success of SLS. As well as learning new skills and creating opportunities for personal growth, the College will open up new networks with other likeminded passionate members across Australia, who also are committed to making a difference within the movement. The NLC is designed to challenge participants intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. The skills gained are designed to be taken back to clubs and into other areas of the participant’s daily environment.

Each day includes keynote speakers, elective sessions, activities and challenges relating to the leadership theme of the day. Each participant will be encouraged to access a mentor and have ongoing opportunities for review and further development.

Participants also benefit from exposure to the international movement. Networking with members from clubs internationally is a highlight for participants as they share ideas and create new friendships and networks. Participants have the opportunity to see the big picture for SLS as they gain exposure to national goals and aspirations. Through the sharing of ideas, resources and future directions, NLC provides an opportunity to create an effective national movement.


Who can apply?

Participants must meet the following requirements:

–          Ba a minimum of 20 years of age and a maximum of 30 years of age on 1 February 2023

–          Be a refreshed and current member of a SLSNR club

–          Demonstrate previous leadership training/experience, preferably from within the SLS environment

–          Demonstrate the potential as a future leader within SLS, with a desire to influence the movements future direction


Participation allocation

The NLC has a maximum of 26 participants from across Australia and SLSNR has been allocated one place. Therefore, there will be a rigorous screening process from applications, with one position available for a Northern Region representative, who will be our ‘Buddy Lucas Scholar’.


What will participants get out of it?

–          Exposure to SLS at an International level

–          Hear from SLSA leaders

–          Opportunities to network with other like-minded members from around Australia

–          Growth in self-confidence and the self-power to make things happen

–          Enabling participants to gain a perception of your own personal leadership qualities and competencies

–          Share opinions and workshop current issues

–          Be inspired by industry professional guest speakers

–          Become part of the Leadership Alumni


What type of applicant are we looking for?

–          Courageous and innovative thinkers

–          Enthusiastic with a strong capacity to learn

–          Individuals committed to SLS for the longer term

–          Emerging influencers in your club

–          Team orientated

–          Highly motivated and self-aware


Social Media