Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 11:42 UK

Surfing champion joins lifeguards

Surfing lifeguard Beth Mason
Beth Mason beat around 30 others to win the Welsh women's title last month

Surfer Bethan Mason is no stranger to the beaches of Brazil, Hawaii and California, but this summer, she is making Gower her base.

The 19-year-old Welsh Women's surfing champion has joined the team of RNLI lifeguards patrolling four of the peninsular's beaches.

She will helping the 23-strong team at Bracelet, Caswell and Langland Bays, and at Port Eynon beach.

A former British champion - she took the Welsh surfing title last month.

"I'm thrilled to get this year's Welsh title and also to find the ideal job to suit my background," said Mason, who beat off competition from around 30 others to win the Welsh competition.

"I started surfing with my older brothers when I was 12 years old. Over the years I have gained excellent experience in the water and developed strong swimming skills, which I can now put to good use through the RNLI.

"The charity offers an excellent and professional service, which I am proud to be involved with."

RNLI lifeguard Oli Simon
Fellow lifeguard Oli Simon won the Welsh Senior Triathlon

The RNLI now has 100 lifeguards patrolling 28 beaches across Wales during the peak of summer, offering practical safety advice, first aid, and of course, carrying out rescues.

Chris Vaughan, the RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for the Swansea area added: "We are delighted to welcome Beth to the team. RNLI lifeguards receive top class training and have the very best equipment in order to do their jobs in the safest and surest way.

"The RNLI has seen an incredibly high standard of applicants this year and we are now looking forward to a busy yet safe summer."

Mason, who is from the Mayals area of Swansea, will be returning to competition after her stint on the Gower beaches.

She already receives sponsorship from some of the biggest names in the surfing industry, and hopes to be in top form for the European championships later this year.

Meanwhile, fellow lifeguard Oli Simon beat more than 130 competitors to come first in the Olympic distance Welsh Senior Triathlon.

The 29-year old senior lifeguard competed at Bryn Bach Park last weekend. The competition involved swimming 1500 metres, cycling 40 kilometres and running 10 kilometres.

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