A clubhouse covered in graffiti was not what Bellambi Surf Life Saving Club president Craig Kershaw wanted to see when he returned from a recent overseas holiday.
Although the club had often been the target of vandals, Mr Kershaw said the most recent attack was the first time perpetrators had climbed the building's second storey and painted over the observation windows.
The vandals also spray painted over Aboriginal-themed murals, first created about three years ago and designed to deter graffiti.
"I don't know how they're getting up to the height of that patrol room," Mr Kershaw said.
"Our windows ... have to be cleaned for the coming season."
The vandalism is believed to have occurred some time in the past two weeks.
Mr Kershaw said it was a bad look for the club.
"We try to be a family-oriented club and you don't want graffiti all over the club when you've got 60-odd nippers here."
Preventing vandalism has been a challenge for lifesavers, given the club's isolated location at the end of a car park.
Mr Kershaw said this meant Bellambi clubhouse was targeted more than others in the Illawarra.
The only way to combat the problem was for residents to report graffiti as soon as they saw it, Mr Kershaw said.
"If we can keep the paint clean long enough it stops them for a period of time," he said.
Wollongong City Council ratepayers foot the bill for graffiti clean-up, and a council spokesman said more than $407,000 was spent on removing graffiti across the whole of Wollongong in 2012-13.
However, Bellambi surf club members also removed graffiti of their own accord, suggesting the true cost of the damage across the city is much higher.
According to the council's Graffiti Priority Zoning Map, Bellambi falls among the worst affected suburbs.
Other "red zone" suburbs include Austinmer, Thirroul, Bulli, Woonona and Figtree.