Griffith researcher named 2017 Summer Surf Girl

Griffith University research fellow Dr Shelley Roberts from the university’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland, is celebrating after winning the title of 2017 Summer Surf Girl.

The Summer Surf Girl program is a Surf Life Saving Queensland initiative, first established in 1964. Since then, the program has raised over $16 million for surf life saving clubs across Queensland. Summer Surf Girl is a member development and leadership program and seeks to engage female lifesavers and develop their skills and experience.

Community fundraising

Participants are heavily involved in fundraising, club and member development, and community awareness around surf safety.

After raising a massive $43,000 for her Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Queensland club as a result of 12 months’ worth of relentless fundraising, Dr Roberts will now act as an ambassador for the surf life saving movement, having shown exceptional surf life saving skills and a dedicated commitment to the cause.

“It was hard work but it was really worth it, I am really delighted at my win,” she says. “Aside from the fundraising, building community awareness of what we offer as an organisation is really important to me.

For example, we are aiming to get more information out there about not only the Nippers clubs for kids, but also the Little Lifesavers initiative for young children and also the Bluebottle Nippers for kids with special needs — these are really important programs for building surf safety among the younger members of our community.

“It’s also great to see so many women involved in the sport now, especially as we shouldn’t forget that women were only admitted to the Surf Life Saving Australia in 1980.”

A post doctoral researcher for Menzies’ National Centre for Research Excellence in Nursing, Dr Roberts is also passionate about nutrition research.