Outstanding achievements in surf lifesaving are not something often associated with the Central West.
But John Collins has never let the lack of coastline deter him from making waves in the field.
Mr Collins has been awarded the Patrol Captain of the Year for his work with Dee Why Surf Life Saving Club on Sydney's northern beaches, for what started as a hobby here in Orange.
Alongside fellow ocean enthusiast Toot Keegan, the father of three founded the Orange Bush Nippers when his now adult children were still at school.
Five of our kids then passed their surf rescue certificate ... the dads realised they now knew more about it than we did.John Collins
Mr Collins and Ms Keegan rallied a group of students between the ages of two-years-old and eight-years-old to teach them water safety skills.
They formed a relationship with the Dee Why club when they realised a need for bigger paddling boards to assist their growing children.
The young Orange Nippers began heading to Sydney to do water development skills, while their city counterparts travelled this way to learn to survive in the country.
"Five of our kids then passed their surf rescue certificate," he said. "The dads realised they now knew more about it than we did."
Not to be outdone, Nippers parents Mr Collins, Mark Hodges and Collin Kjoller went on to complete their Surf Bronze Medallion, which tested their fitness and first-aid abilities alongside the 15-year-olds who completed it with them.
He and Mr Kjoller have since completed their Silver Medallion in Beach Management and advanced resuscitation and boat-crew training, which has allowed them to help manage the 20 Orange lifesavers now performing rescues in Sydney.
Mr Collins was nominated for his recent award by someone within his club and was chosen as the winner for the branch award against 12 other nominees.
He was told he was nominated for his ability to organise the Nippers who patrol the Sydney beaches up to eight times a year.
"When we hit the beach we're full strength," he said.
Mr Collins said he's lucky to have not had any serious incidents so far, but Mr Kjoller wasn't so lucky when he was covering for him on the last patrol of 2018 - with his team performing 13 rescues in the single day.
"I'm not sure if I dodged a bullet or missed out on the best patrol of the season," he said.
Mr Collins will be entered in the state competition to be announced later in the year.
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