Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club bade farewell to one of its own last Friday.
The lifeguard community was shocked by the news of Jason Bambi’s death on Saturday May 25.
The 20-year-old lifeguard, who had been a member of the club for 10 years, hanged himself in his room at his Atlantis home, according to his mother, Lydia Bambi.
He is survived by his one-year-old daughter. On Friday, the club held a memorial paddle-out to honour Jason. Lifeguards paddled out on surfboards and a rubber boat while friends and family watched from the beach.
Ms Bambi, described the ceremony as beautiful “but very sad”.
The club started a crowd-funding account to raise money for Jason’s burial. Jason was buried in Atlantis on Saturday. “I’m very grateful for the club’s help,” said Ms Bambi.
Big Bay Surf’s previous club captain, Christine Kennedy, met Jason when he was 12. The club was part of a development programme teaching children from Atlantis how to swim and eventually become lifeguards, said Ms Kennedy. While more and more children dropped out of the programme every week, Jason had excelled and become a qualified lifeguard at 14.
Ms Kennedy said she had grown fond of Jason. He was the same age as her son, Damien, and he had slept over many times at their home when the club had had competitions. “He became like family,” she said. Damien, who became the club’s new captain last month, said Jason had been quiet but had had a good sense of humour. He had been a great competitor and had been fast on the beach, said Damien. “When we sat lifeguard duty together, it was just more fun,” said Damien.