The Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club was formed in 1929, previously being recognised as a Surf Bathers Club back in 1910. With many issues faced over the capabilities of women in Surf Life Saving, they were pushed to the sidelines for many years. Many clubs around the State and Country formed Female Bathing Clubs competing in events such as Rescue and Resuscitation (R&R), March Past and Colour Parties. These events are still traditionally run at all competition levels within Surf Life Saving today. Port Macquarie formed a Female Bathers Club called The Mermaids. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that The Surf Life Saving Association finally admitted women as full members. Since then, the number of active surf lifesavers has almost doubled with women currently holding 3% more membership.
It is said that Port Macquarie made the surf ski, which is now a well used instrument in Surf Life Saving.
From the earliest days of surf bathing, Town Beach was the easiest accessed location for most residents. It was preferred to Flynns Beach, which was later to be developed and became the site for the Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Clubhouse in 1956.
Life member Fred Middleton was the club champion cadet of 1964-65 who had previously been the club Nippers champion 1962-63 and 1963-64. Fred gained his bronze medallion in December 1965 and won the junior championship of the club three times between 1965 and 1968.
From 1968 to 1979 he dominated the senior club championships with the exception of only one year, that was in 1974-75 when Larry Brook was victorious. Larry is also a Life Member of the club.
Middleton is an outstanding all round surfer and has excelled on both the double and single skis.
“The first official ski was made 1912-1913 by Port Macquarie fisherman, Harry McLaren, who saw it as an easy way for Harry and his brother to get about oyster beds in nearby Lake Innes”.