HELMUT Klein made Yamba Surf Life Saving Club history on Sunday when he gained his surf lifesaving Bronze Medallion.
The 72-year-old became the oldest member to gain the award in the club's 105-year history.
Arriving in Australia from Germany on January 26, 1963, Klein was a non-swimmer until just seven years ago.
"In 2007 I joined the Clarence River Masters Swimming Club," he said. "About three years later Ray Burridge taught me to swim in the ocean and encouraged me to take part in the annual Yamba Surf Club Ocean Swim."
In early September, just before his 72nd birthday, he completed the compulsory 400-metre pool test swim inside the required time of nine minutes and was ready to start his six-week Bronze Medallion training course.
He completed his Bronze Medallion assessment in testing surf conditions on Main Beach on Sunday.
"I had a bit of trouble with the board rescue, and the run-swim-run was physically demanding, but I made it."