Leading Seaman Chad Poland of the Royal Australian Navy Tactical Electronic Warfare Support Section at HMAS Albatross has had a sensational start to 2015.
In January he won five gold medals at one of the biggest events on the surf sports calendar, the 2015 Stramit New South Wales Country Surf Life Saving Championships. He followed that achievement with four gold and two silver in the Masters (30-34 age group) at the New South Wales Surf Life Saving Championships which were held in Umina, on the New South Wales Central Coast, in March.
Leading Seaman Poland, who is a member of the Nowra-Culburra Surf Life Saving Club has only recently returned to Surf Life Saving after a six year break due to Defence commitments.
He started the competition on unfamiliar territory with a 2km beach run.
“This event is a new one for me as it wasn't around when I competed when I was younger," Leading Seaman Poland said.
“Another challenge was that the run clashed with the ski race but the officials held the ski up for me so I could do both, which was great, but meant I had to rush down from the finish of the run to the water and head straight into the ski.”
“After that it was pretty much back- to-back races with board, swim, ironman and the final event, the tube rescue.
"Thursday was team event day so it was good to have a bit of a rest after I tweaked my shoulder a little in the swim race.”
Despite the shoulder injury Leading Seaman Poland also made it to the semi-finals in the open board categories and said he was very pleased with his results.
“It’s always good to get any win in Surf Life Saving due to the fact that the surf is unpredictable and anything can happen.
"You can get hit on the way out and have to play catch up or be lucky enough to catch a wave from behind to bring you up with the leaders. I do a fair bit of training to prepare for these competitions so to get the rewards makes its even more special.”
Hopefully there will be more rewards for Leading Seaman Poland in his next competition, the Australian Surf Life Saving titles.The largest event of its kind in the world, the titles will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, in April.
Leading Seaman Poland will be joining 7,000 surf lifesavers representing 311 surf clubs, all going for gold.