Warren Young is the epitome of the Gold Coast. For over 40 years he’s been patrolling our local beaches and was recently honoured with the Gold Coast Tourism Life Member Award.
We sat down to chat with the local legend on his undying love of the Coast and why passion will take you places you never thought possible.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I visited the first couple of times in 1958 but came down to live in 1973. I was a Brisbane boy, working in Telecomm with a good job but I loved the surf and was Captain of the surf club and I didn’t want to stay in the city. At the time a job came up for a beach patrol person and I got it.
What do you love most about the Coast?
I think it’s got a really special feel about it and I love the people here. All the beaches have something special about them from The Spit down to Coolangatta and I like that we’ve got the beautiful hinterland too. There’s not many places in the world where you can have both. There are so many opportunities here, I’ve been here so long that I’ve grown with the place and I’ve really enjoyed watching every stage. People bash the Gold Coast but this strip of ocean is just so special and we forget how lucky we are.
You were recently named as a Gold Coast Tourism Honorary Life Member, what does it mean to you to have patrolled our beaches for so long?
I’m really so lucky to have done this for so long. I started when I was 23 and moved up through the ranks. I thought being a lifeguard was such a worthwhile thing and still do of course. I got the lifeguard towers put up with the support of the council so that was pretty special. It’s lovely the way it’s turned out, we’ve come a long way. Mum really instilled a lot of confidence in us and told us we could do anything so that really helped us boys. It’s been a lovely life, I can’t imagine not being here.
What’s your favourite part about the job?
For me, it’s working with such great people and it’s really all about helping. There’s a lot of self-satisfaction in it for me but the people I work with are so supportive of each other, there’s such a good community. It can be a real challenge working with the ocean because it’s always changing, there’s always a mystery involved and I love that. I love listening to the stories of people I meet on the beach. People from all over the world come here and I just love hearing about their lives and how different they are to what we experience here.
What have been some highlights throughout your career?
Getting the Public Service Medal in 1999 was pretty special. I’m also part of the baton crew for the Commonwealth Games so I’m excited about that. There have been so many amazing things that have happened, it really has been a wonderful time. I’ve been really blessed. My Dad passed away when I was nine but he would have been proud I think. When you start off doing something you’re passionate about, it’s amazing where it leads you. Of course, in life there’s always hills and valleys but I’ve loved every minute of it and I’ve been so lucky to bring my family up on the beach.
What’s been the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
I think it’s to treat people well, respect them, you never know what people have been through.
Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Miami, I love it. I’ve got a soft spot for Burleigh but Miami is my home beach.
Café: I really like Piccolo, just near my house, really nice coffee.
Restaurant: Allure down at Currumbin.
Weekends: I usually do some training in the mornings and then spend some time with my Grandson, rolling around on the floor being silly.