Louisa Nickerson, 18, and Hailey Horan, 18, of the Del Mar Lifeguards have been selected as the first international exchange students to take part in the recently established USA/Australia Surf Lifesaving Exchange program.
The program will run from Dec. 18-Jan. 5 in the cities of Coolum, Maroochydore and Brisbane, where the girls will learn the Australian surf lifesaving system and culture.
The USA/Australia Surf Lifesaving Exchange was founded this year by Vince Askey of the Del Mar BodySurfing Club. The program will expand to other international associations in 2016.
Nickerson and Horan became Del Mar Lifeguards this summer after working their way up through the Del Mar Junior Guards since childhood. They are also members of the Del Mar BodySurfing Club (www.delmarbodysurfing.club) and competed in the World Bodysurfing Championships in August at the Oceanside Pier.
Nickerson is a senior at Torrey Pines High School with a 4.2 G.P.A. She is captain of the Torrey Pines girls cross country and track teams. Nickerson plans to continue as a competitive runner next year in college while pursuing a degree in education. In addition, she is president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club and the Best Buddies Club for friendships between disabled students and non-disabled students.
Horan is a freshman at San Diego State University after graduating from Westview High School with honors in June. She was captain of the Westview Women’s Surf Team and president of the Surf Club. She also played on the Westview girls’ lacrosse and field hockey teams. At SDSU, she is a member of the women’s rowing team.
Horan and Nickerson will pay their own airfare to visit Australia, but will be hosted by at least two surf lifesaving clubs in Queensland during their visit. The hosting clubs in Queensland will be the Coolum Surf Lifesaving Club (www.coolumsurfclub.com.au) and the Maroochydore Surf Lifesaving Club (www.maroochysurfclub.com.au).
The two American girls will stay in the homes of surf club members. Some of the lifesaving activities planned for Horan and Nickerson are participating in a beach patrol, introduction to the Nipper program, presentations and discussions of the Australian Surf Lifesaving system, participation in club activities, body surfing, and use of club equipment.