Life to the Max
By Adrian Miller
In 1952 at the age of 22 Max Godbee joined the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club (YSLSC) to get his bronze medallion.
He figured he would sign up just until he received his accreditation ? which he assumed wouldn't take long.
But nearly 54 years later and Godbee has just been awarded life membership of Surf Life Saving Australia for his services to the sport.
Add to that his life membership of YSLSC, Far North Coast surf life saving (SLS) branch and SLS NSW, and it's clear to see Godbee has been a loyal and dedicated servant to surf life saving for most of his life.
Nominated for the award by YSLSC member Jim Dougherty, and honoured after an executive meeting of SLS Australia at the current World SLS Championships, in Geelong, Victoria, Godbee said he was privileged to receive the decoration.
"I was thrilled, I couldn't believe it ? it certainly is an honour," he said.
"I remember joining Yamba surf club in 1952 just to get my bronze and here I still am."
He will be presented with the award at the Australian SLS Championships, which will be held Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast, next month.
But the award shouldn't come as any surprise to those who know Godbee. A YSLSC committee member for the last 53 years, he has held most positions in the club ? from senior vice-president to club instructor.
He coached for both Yamba and Far North Coast at nearly 40 championships and NSW state carnivals, where his charges won 58 NSW Country Championship titles in various events.
"They were nearly unbeatable in rescue and resuscitation and march past, which was the marquee event in those days," he said.
Godbee also won 10 Masters titles himself, mostly in beach sprint events, until his retirement from competition after the 2002 SLS World Titles in Florida.
He has also been part of the Australian delegation to the World Titles over the last 10 years, and has judged at 10 world championships since 1986.
And even after such loyal service, Godbee doesn't intend on retiring any time soon.
"I find it hard to explain why I'm still involved, but I suppose I like the people, the friendships and the competition," he said.
"I'm a life member of Yamba, the Far North Coast branch, SLS NSW and now SLSA, so I guess I'll be around for a while longer."