North Beach SLSC History
The beginnings of the club
In the early 1900’s an outing to the sea was an exciting and full day for the townsfolk of Christchurch. Boarding a horse drawn tram to New Brighton, the more daring ventured into a bathing shed and donned a costume buttoned around the neck and reaching below the knees for a splash. Often a swimmer would find themselves in difficulties and without the life saving services as we know today it was left to a few capable swimmers who inhabited the weekend baches to assist them out. These swimmers were members of the East Christchurch Swimming Club and had been in the habit, since 1905 of camping at New Brighton in the summer weekends. It was mainly these men who took the first steps to form New Zealand’s first surf club in 1910.
During the next few years some of the New Brighton club members who lived at the North end of the beach were accustomed to swimming at North Beach rather than at their own Surf Club a mile distant down the beach and so in 1914 this group became the North New Brighton Branch of the New Brighton Surf Club. 1915 saw the first steps to break away from the New Brighton Club when Mr A.R. Blank founded the North Beach Surf Bathing and Life Saving Club. At the inaugural meeting, a committee to establish the North Beach Surf Club was elected, comprising Messrs. A.R. Blank, T.H. Harker, N.R. Johansen, C. Rundle, B. McKenna, F. Baxter, R. Thomson, E.A.M. Leaver, F. Whatman, W.A. Smith, and F. Suter.
The New Brighton Club records show that a letter was sent to Mr A.R. Blank, the elected club Captain on the 19th January 1916, agreeing to a request for the loan of a reel so that on the following Sunday morning a meeting of the North Beach Club could be held at Thompson Park followed by a demonstration. This exhibition was most successful and some 28 new members were enrolled.
Over one hundred years on, the North Beach SLSC has carved out a rich history of service to the local community and competitive successes on the beach.
We celebrated North Beach SLSC Centenary from the 21 – 23 October, 2016. Thank you to all who joined in the celebrations! It was a fabulous weekend full of great yarns, photos, presentations and racing. Seeing past members reunite and share their stories with our newer members was incredibly special.
100 years – what a milestone – in it for life!