In 2004, the Salt Surf Life Saving Club was founded and joined the other 9 clubs that make up the Far North Coast branch of Surf Life Saving NSW. At the time, Salt was the first new surf club to form in Australia for many years.
The club is located in the heart of the Salt Village hotel and residential development, and is a jewel in the Salt Village crown. Formation of the surf club was part of the conditions placed on visionary developers Brian and Kathy Ray in order to gain approval to construct the large scale Salt Village development. Despite some initial concern from other parties, the club was born through the hard work and dedication of Brian and Kathy. Tragically, both Brian and Kathy were killed in a plane crash prior to the first patrol taking the beach.
Their legacy to the surf club was initially carried on by their children, and the band of original members who pushed through the many early obsticles. The torch has now been passed to local residents who have made this area their home. The club is fully independant and committed to supporting the local community and business owners.
After many years of planning, fundraising and preparation, construction of the lower floor expansion started on Monday 16th November 2015. This was completed by September 2016, just in time for the start of the patrol season. The expansion allowed the club to store all of it's lifesaving equipment in the one facility for the first time ever. Club President at the time, Greg Lovett paid tribute to the many members who were part of realising the vision of a functional lifesaving equipment storage facility, including past Presidents David Hoare and Mark Humphries. The expansion allowed for additional efficiencies to be made to patrol operations under the guidance of Club Captain Jeff Smith, including split patrols and a renegotiation of the patrol agreements with SLSNSW. The per-member patrol obligations for season 16/17 and 17/18 dropped from 60+ hours to around 35, wich eased the load on all members.
Attention quickly turned to planning for the next stage of club progress, with another round of grant applications. The club was initially looking to perform a staged build where possible to allow time for fundraising activities to match the expected outlay. Much work was done with Scott Carpenter to prepare plans which could be activated when needed.
In 2017, we were fortunate enough to be approved for $1Million Community Developments Grant from the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. This major grant, combined with $300,000 of funds from the NSW Surf Club Facilities Program, and $200,000 from Tweed Shire Council made the dream seem achievable.
Keeping in mind the strict timeline required to outlay the grant-funds, a design for a $1.6m upper level for the clubhouse was brought forward with assistance from Tony Cannon and builders Sea Breeze Homes. Construction started in February 2018 and was completed by November 2018. Without the assistance from Tony Cannon and Peter Wilson, a proper clubhouse could have been another 10 years away. The clubhouse design and build went on to win an HIA award in 2021.
For the 2018/19 season, the club executive made the decision to trial Nippers on Saturday afternoons. This proved to be an enormous success and led to growth in nipper numbers from approximately 80 to over 220 by the end of the 2020/21 season. The huge influx on new families solidified the club's position of strength and provided a boost to patrol numbers. The club nipper program is now larger than most other clubs in the Far North Coast Branch and strikes the perfect balance for parents and kids.