We have all found ourselves one day or another in a delicate or dangerous situation in our surfing life. Even if these frightening moments are part of the game, having the right reflexes can help avoid the worst: drowning.
The best surfers on the planet have almost (and sometimes found) death in world-class waves like Pipeline, Tavarua or Cortes Bank but, in their exploits, most are generally framed by a trained and run in water patrol.
But what about in more common scenarios, i.e. for lambda surfers on a lambda spot?
Surfing magazine has asked two legendary North Shore lifeguards, Dave Wassel and Mark Cunningham, the right reflexes to adopt if you find yourself in the presence of a drowned surfer/swimmer. Here is what you should remember from this excellent article:
1. If possible, do not intervene alone, call for help, make sure there are people on the beach who have realized what is happening.
2. Never remove the leash from the drowned person to avoid losing his body if a wave passes over you. If it is a swimmer, hang his own leash.
3. If he is conscious, always put your board between you and him so that he clings to it. In a panic, it could cling to you and never let you go, causing the over-accident. "If you don't, they'll literally grim on you so they can breathe. Result: there will be two people drowning.
4. Keep the drowned person's head out of the water as far as possible.
5. If unconscious, do not attempt resuscitation in water but proceed as quickly as possible to the beach. Catch the first wave that arrives, wedge the person's body on the board - easier said than done - and let the moss push us towards the beach.
6. Once on the beach, make sure that the emergency services have been notified or do it yourself (15 for medical emergencies and EMS) and start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). 100 compressions per minute on the torso - "when you think about it, it's almost 2 per second, it's very fast," says Wasse. No mouth-to-mouth.
Ribs can break during compressions, but that doesn't have to stop you: "I know it can be strange, but if you try to revive someone who has drowned and technically died, a few broken sides won't change much," says Dave Wassel.
7. The person expels drool or foam through the mouth? It's a sign that CPR worked and she's coming around. Put it on its side immediately to allow the fluid to drain and to prevent it from choking. The person will lose the typical whitish/grey drowning color and regain color instantly.
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