Surfers save lives. When wave riders are out in the line-up, there may be swimmers in trouble, more or less far away from firm land. No matter if it's summertime, spring, winter, or fall.
The surf lifesaving movement is deeply connected to the sport of surfing. The original surf lifesaving club was born in Australia, between 1903 and 1907, although it is not clear whether the world's first organization is Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club or Bondi Surf Bathers' Life Saving Club.
Today, there are thousands of surf lifesaving clubs in Australia, USA and Europe. Volunteers perform thousands of rescues every year, in calm summer waters, and in rough sea conditions.
The similarities between surf lifesaving and surfing are quite obvious. In the majority of the cases, lifeguards are also regular surfers. Surfers have inherent responsibilities when beachgoers are in danger. But what should an accomplished surfer do to save a life in danger?
Today, there are multiple lifesaving courses specifically designed for surfers, but if you still haven't attended official rescue lessons, here's a quick lifesaving guide:
1. Analyze the victim. Is he/she drowning? Can the victim swim? Has he/she suffered cuts or fractures? Is the victim bleeding?
2. Establish communication. Let the person know you're on the way.
3. Paddle safely towards the victim. Assess how you'll get there, and don't put your life in danger.
4. Talk confidently. Victims are scared and impatient. Use short, informative sentences.
5. Flip the surfboard. Grab the victim's hands against the surfboard rail.
6. Turn the board towards the shore.
7. Flip the board once again. The victim will be onboard.
8. Turn the victim and center him/her on the surfboard.
9. Paddle towards shore and manage your energy levels.
10. Keep communication until reaching the shore. Calm the person by reassuring her/him everything will be alright.
Surf lifesavers and lifeguards are trained to rescue stranded swimmers. If you're an untrained recreational surfer, make sure you're not disturbing their skilled procedures. A surfer should only be asked to save a life if, for any reason, there are no surf lifesavers in the area.