Surfing’s Very Own Rescue Course Goes Online

12 Aug 2020 0 Share

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

The Things We Should All Know

By Nick Carroll

It’s insane how quick things can go pear shaped.

Just today at a beach not far from my house, for example, a surfer drowned. This was at a beach fabled for its complete safety, indeed a place people go to surf when everywhere else is too big for them.

The surfer, a 44-year-old man, got his leggie tangled around a stormwater pipe and was trapped underwater for minutes.

It’s a sobering reminder — a scenario none of us wants to see play out, to us or in front of us.

It’s the sort of thing that was playing on Adam Robertson’s mind earlier this year. Adam is head guy at Surfing Victoria. As such he’s responsible for all the organisation’s programs — including surfersrescue247, the surf zone recovery/CPR course.

247 is designed to be taught live, and Surfing Vic had been busy doing that with boardriders’ clubs across the State. But the plague’s arrival — and its blowout in Vicco in particular — has ruled that out.

Instead, the organisation went to work designing an online version. Something anyone can do if they’re willing to spend a lunchtime on a computer.


“LIFEGUARDS DO A GOOD JOB, BUT SURFERS ARE OFTEN THE ONES WHO ARE IN REMOTE AREAS...JUST GIVE THEM THE INFO THAT MIGHT SAVE A LOVED ONE.”


Says Adam: “The COVID brought about a bunch of issues for delivery of our programs. We were visiting boardriders’ clubs and doing the course face to face. That had to stop but we wanted to keep it going for surfers who might be able to save someone in trouble.

“We looked at the online part of the SLSA Bronze course and it triggered a thought for us.”

The SV team worked on a few treatments for the course in order to shift it online, including a POV on the various board rescue methods, to help the user picture how it might pan out in reality.

CW tested the course before writing and to our experienced eye, it does a remarkable job in a short time. Most users will get it done in under an hour, and while for sure it’s always best to practice rescue skills in real time, most surfers have a head start on your average surf club Bronze trainee — generally, we know surf. “Surfers are quite well educated on the way that water moves, and dangers and so forth,” says Adam. “They don’t have to learn the things a novice water person might.”

In any case, he feels duty bound to keep the program going in these tricky times: “Lifeguards do a good job, but surfers are often the ones who are in remote areas. I thought, just give them the info that might save a loved one.”

SV will embark face to face training when permitted, but will keep the online going too, and will update it into the future as CPR standards and other rescue methods evolve over time.


In conjunction to the program, SV has recently embarked on a research project collaboration with La Trobe University’s Centre for Sport and Social Impact (CSSI) later in the year. This project has been designed to provide statistical data on the number of rescues and emergency situations that Victorian surfers are involved with each year. It’s aimed at providing a better picture of the impact of the Victorian surfing community on Victorian beaches and waterways safety.

Says Adam: “I think surfing needs that info to know how many lives surfers have saved each year. It’s really important and it can be a really powerful statistic for surfing.”

WIN!
Surfers who participate will go in the draw to win monthly surf sessions at URBNSURF and a major end of year prize of a King Island Surf Safaris voucher. Interested surfers can register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5L5W25G

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