At the age of 16 Paul Wessel joined the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club and after competing in his first surf boat state championships, he was hooked.
It was a passion that has stayed with him for most of his life, with Paul's involvement in the club still going strong to this day.
His commitment to surf life saving has been shared as part of Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories initiative which aims to celebrate members of the local community.
Paul held the position of Club President for 13 years, Club Secretary for two years and regularly competed in championships and completed patrols at the main clubhouse and on Kelly’s Beach.
“You have to have good people behind you and a great working relationship to drive an organisation,” he said.
“When you take on a patrol you take on a responsibility, it taught us all to be disciplined.
“Through my involvement with the club I have made great memories and great friends.”
During his time with Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club Paul was also working hard at the family business.
In 1950, Paul’s Dad started Wessels Petroleum which has grown to include 20 retail service stations from Townsville to Caloundra and will soon move into the Brisbane market, employing 250 to 300 staff.
Now semi-retired, Paul focuses on looking over the development of sites while his son runs the operation side of the business.
Paul said when he wasn't working, he still enjoyed heading out to the beach.
“I still officiate at carnivals and the surf boat competitions,” he said.
It's something Paul said he was extremely thankful for after living through serious illnesses, including leukemia and prostate cancer.
“I like to try to keep life as normal as possible, keep involved and battle through it,” he said.
“It’s no good just sitting at home.
“Life is about enjoying the good times, you have to work together to overcome life’s challenges.”