Big job with a big heart

Ocean Grove SLSC annual general meeting took place on Sunday 23 July. 170971

By Mark Heenan

New Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club Junior Activities Manager Darren Ball is a big man with a kind heart.
Drysdale-based Darren was sworn into an honorary position at the Ocean Grove SLSC annual general meeting on 23 July and will take charge of club’s expanding junior Nipper program.
He will work closely with Shane Bird who remains in the Surf Sport Co-ordinator role.
The father-of-three had been groomed for role after former Junior Activities Manager Gavin Mahoney stood down at the end of last season.
“Gav approached me probably early in the season last season and he sort of put his arms around me and basically said ‘I think I have got a role for you next season’,” Darren said.
“And he asked me to do his role.
“I had to think about it because it is a big role and there is a lot of responsibility and everything that goes along with it.”
He said he was excited after strong results at the statewide Nipper carnivals and success of club’s popular Surf Sport and Surf Ed programs.
Ocean Grove SLSC finished second at the Victorian Junior Lifesaving Championships in March at Warrnambool and was the highest ranked regional-based club.
He said improving the club’s Nippers’ lifesaving skills for future surf patrols is a focus.
“I just started to look at what we can do to improve as a club and to make sure we improve our Nippers to eventually (become) better lifesavers,” he said.
Darren has two daughters, twins Ella and Olivia, both 13, and younger son Jacob, 9, who all compete in Nippers.
Ocean Grove SLSC president David Pavia said Ball’s appointment proved its succession plan had worked after predecessors Gavin Mahoney and Scott McNaughton engineered a popular junior surf program.
“Darren has hit the ground running,” David said.
“It has been a very smooth transition into that role.”
Ocean Grove SLSC will run four swimming pool sessions across August at the Bellarine Aquatic and Sports Centre for Nippers, the first training session kicks off on Sunday 6 August at 11am.
For more information visit or email Darren Ball at
In other developments, Ocean Grove SLSC had a strong turnout from members at the club’s annual general meeting.
Pavia is president for a second term, while popular local Stephanie Asher has re-joined Ocean Grove SLSC Committee of Management as vice president.
Asher replaces outgoing vice president Steve Peatling.
Lewis Howell-Pavia is the new club captain.
Champion club ironman Mark Graham joins as a general member, while Amenah McDonald is the new Social and Lounge Manager.
“It is really nice to get some new faces on board,” David said.

Favourite food: Steak (rump or a T-bone)
Favourite drink: Bundaberg rum red
Favourite holiday destination: Darwin
Favourite surf beach: Ocean Grove
What is your favourite thing about the Ocean Grove SLSC: Just the kids, the kids are all fun. Seeing the kids smile.
Outside interests: AFL

President: David Pavia
Vice President: Stephanie Asher
Treasurer: Nick Bohan
Club Captain: Lewis Howell-Pavia
Competition Manager: Bruce Sampson
Social and Lounge Manager: Amenah McDonald
Junior Activities Manager: Darren Ball
Training and Assessment: Bec Sampson
Sponsorship and Fundraising: Arne Solterbeck
General Member: Mark Graham
Facilities Manager: Vince Occhipinti