Newcastle Rescue – Bondi without the crowds
Daniel is a full time lifeguard at Nobbys Beach and was the second person I got a photo from. Daniel nickname is Pez and I am almost certain that apart from weddings, funerals and dinners at mums, he is only ever called Pez. There is something about the nickname, nearly everyone has one or has had one at sometime. If you have a short name its normally lengthened, long names shorten, tall people become shorty and short people become stretch and the red head becomes bluey (predates ranga and bloodnut). What I love about the nickname is that there is something really Australian about them. I also think the further you travel from the city the greater the use of the nickname becomes, its like a second birth certificate your mates give you . I also think there are some jobs that attract nicknames to them be that defense, sports or in this case surf lifesaving.
Pez is a 10yr veteran and being a life saver is his full time job. His office is his beach. Best views in town. Pez uniform is shorts, the blue shirt (denotes paid lifeguard by Newcastle Council) thongs, hat and sunglasses. His most valuable piece of equipment is his eyesight and his mate next to him as they scan the beach. Even as I was talking to Pez he was constantly on the look out ensuring the safety of others. A good day for him is a day when not much happens.
In Newcastle people mention the surf before the beach. Surfing is as much part of Newcastle as coal is. It has beautiful beaches and Pez talks about that there are 7-8 of the best beaches going around right here in Newcastle. But it is like the beauty of the beach frames the one thing that people find even more beautiful, the surf. The best way I can describe it is to think of the Mona Lisa, beautiful painting but people remember the “look” and the mystery of that look. I think that is what surfing is the Newcastle. People love the beach but the beach provides its own mysterious look and that is the surf.
I loved the way Pez talked about his job, “people everyday try and get to the beach and I get to come here everyday for work, I have the best job in the world”. I think Pez knows how lucky he is to work in the area he loves the most.
Pez talks about Newcastle as either happy or sad and that all depends on the weather. This summer was a sad summer, temperatures were down and rain was up, but Autumn was looking happy, this day was one of the warmest Autumn days in years and people were flocking to the beach as if the weather was finally giving them a forgotten Christmas gift.
You get the feeling talking about Newcastle with Pez that it starts and ends at the beach. He tells me that they have some of the best breaks, cleanest waters and on the busiest days you have space to chuck a tennis ball around with friends. Let me contrast this with Sydney’s most famous beach Bondi. It attracts up to 40,000 people on a warm weekend, that’s probably about ten times the amount Newcastle beach attracts.
One thing I promised is to give a shout out to his mate that make bloody good coffee, his shop is called Liquid Gold. Pez said the bloke not much to look at but you know he can make coffee as he has that barista’s hunch. I am sure there is a complement in there somewhere.
Thanks for you Newcastle Pez
P.s the photo below I call ‘lifeguards eye’ and if you look carefully enough you will see the color of Newcastle in the reflection.