It’s time for you to meet Nicola Atherton. She’s a 27-year-old Sydneysider, and she’s about to become Australia’s most famous female lifeguard.
She is, after all, the newest member of Bondi Rescue – one of Australia’s most-loved TV shows, both here and abroad. And although she’s only been a lifeguard for three months, Nicola is ready to show the boys exactly how it’s done.
Nicola has plenty of experience in the water – prior to becoming a lifeguard, she was a professional surfer for 10 years, even winning the World Junior Surfing Championship at the age of 20 in 2007. She began looking for a career change and decided to apply for the lifeguard role with Waverly Council. Having grown up surfing in Bronte, she already knew plenty of the boys and knew she’d fit right in.
Nicola had to get her jet ski licence, her lifeguard certification and her first aid training. She also had to pass a rigorous fitness test. And after all that, finally, she was welcomed to the Bondi Beach time – Bondi’s fourth ever female lifeguard.
I had a chat with her to find out more about this incredible sportswoman, and also get some of the behind-the-scenes story about what it’s like to work on Bondi Rescue.
Natalia: How did you get started in surfing?
Nicola: I grew up on Bronte Road, which was a five minute walk to the beach. It was the best place in the world to grow up. I fell in love with surfing at the age of 12. It became everything to me, more than a hobby or passion, it was my life and I spent every spare second I could in the surf.