Life transformed

09 Mar 2020

Winning a Transformer Scholarship to the Gold Coast’s Bond University has given passionate surf life saver and recent Old Boy Sebastian Fergusson the opportunity to move to Australia and pursue his goal to design a more efficient surf rescue paddle board.

Sebastian will study a Bachelor of Business while developing his idea through the university’s Transformer programme, working in a collaborative, interdisciplinary team to bring the project to fruition and effect real change.

“Like gears on a bike, I believe paddle board design can be more efficient,” says Sebastian. “I believe if we can lower the deck of the paddle boards we use, it’s going to get more of your arm in the water so you can pull more water, so you’re not focusing on how many strokes you can do, you can worry about lessening the strokes but knowing you’re getting quality pulls.

“For a lifeguard, that’s getting to a patient that little bit quicker, which could be life or death, or in a race, it’s just that little bit quicker and more efficient.”

Sebastian is currently in the research stage of his project and intends to test other products on the market to see how strong they are and how well they travel through water before moving ahead.

He hopes to be able to use computer aided design (CAD) to maximise the board’s strength and speed and says he is looking forward to using the connections he will gain through the Transformer programme to progress his business.

“The main manufacturers are here so I can learn off them, and the market is here. If you make a good product they’ll buy it.”

Formerly a member of the Sumner Surf Life Saving Club, Sebastian has previously won gold and bronze medals at New Zealand surf life saving championships, and made three finals at Australian surf life saving championships. He has joined the Gold Coast’s Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club so he can continue to compete while in Australia, and already has his sights set on the New Zealand and Australian national championships later this year.

Bond University awards two Transformer Scholarships annually, which halve tuition costs for the recipients and provide entry to the university’s Transformer programme for student entrepreneurs.

“I was pretty stoked to get the scholarship,” says Sebastian. “It opened up the opportunity to come to Australia, which was awesome. It’s the home of surf here, so you’ve got to be here if you want to do well – and the Gold Coast lifestyle is really nice.”

A representative of Bond University will visit College in May to talk to students about study options and opportunities available at the university.