Friday, August 26, 2011

Great Lakes Board Co. Partners Rescue Class

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 26, 2011

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Class Organizer & Media Relations

Great Lakes Board Company
 Partners with "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class

CHICAGO, IL & NEW BUFFALO, MI – The Great Lakes Board Company announces its partnership with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project for its "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class and "Third Coast Ocean Force" rip current awareness campaign Sunday, August 28, 9:30 a.m. EST at New Buffalo’s, Lions Pavilion Park.

“I experience rip currents every time I surf,” said Ian Jacobson, Great Lakes Board Company owner.  “Got caught in a nasty one a few winters ago against a wall of ice and tore a hole in my wet suit.  Everyone needs to be respectful of the lake and understand the type of power it can unleash.”

In 2010 rip currents were a leading cause of the 74 drowning deaths in the Great Lakes.  To date in 2011, 56 people have drowned. About one-fifth of these drownings are due to rip currents. 

The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will teach participants how to recognize the danger of the surf environment; understand rip currents (i.e. how, where, and why rip currents occur); how to survive rips; to know the “Signs of Drowning”; and how to use a surfboard or other flotation device to rescue a person in distress or in a rip current.

The “Surf Rescue” class is FREE and OPEN to the public.  Feel free to invite your friends, family, and water enthusiasts (Surfers, SUP’ers, Kayakers, Professional Water Rescue Personnel) for an informative water safety class and a fun day at the beach.


Since 2008, the Great Lakes Board Company is operated by surfers and watermen who truly have a passion for water sports and being on the water.  Its staff is compiled of avid surfers, and board riders of all pursuits, and people who have a genuine passion for being on the water.  It is committed to continue to increase awareness for the SUP sport, as well as other activities on the Great Lakes.  It is also committed to building consciousness that the Lakes are precious resources that need to be protected and respected.

Ian Jacobson started stand up paddle boarding (SUP) in Hawaii and thought it was a great way to stay on the water when there are no waves, especially in Lake Michigan's off season.  “We specialize in creating new enthusiasts,” said Jacobson.  “Very few people in Chicago we're aware of the sport.  It is exciting to see people embracing it the same way we have.  If we weren't doing this for work, we'd be out there anyway.  I took two days off in the first two months of this season, and both days I went surfing.  We want to get as many people on the water as possible so they can experience what it feels like to walk on water”.  For more information, go to or 773-575-4787.

The fourth “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will be hosted Sunday, August 28 at the Lions Pavilion Park, New Buffalo, MI.  There will be a Meet-n-Greet at 9:30 a.m.; Classroom Session for assessing surf conditions, rip current education, beach safety, rescue techniques, 10:00 a.m.; and a Water Session to practice hands-on surf rescue techniques at 11:15 a.m.

In 2010 approximately 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes primarily due to rip currents.  As of August 25, 2011, approximately 56 people have drowned.  The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is made up of Great Lakes surfers dedicated to reducing drowning incidents on the Great Lakes. Surfers have a long history of rescues along our coasts.  Surfers are often in the water when conditions are most dangerous: high surf and cold water. 

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project consists of two elements:
1. The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class;
2. The “Third Coast Ocean Force” Rip Current Awareness PSA Campaign.

The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class is currently FREE and OPEN to the public – Friends, Family, Employees, Employers, Surfers, SUP’ers, Kayakers, Professional Water Rescue Personnel, Social Groups of People, etc.
The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will teach participants how to:
--Recognize the danger of the surf environment keeping personal safety as THE primary responsibility – Identifying hazardous conditions
--Understand rip currents; i.e. how, where, and why rip currents occur; How to survive rips;
--Know the “Signs of Drowning” – How to identify a person in trouble from within a crowd.
--Summon help
--Use a surfboard or other flotation device to rescue a person in distress or in a rip current
--React when encountering swimmers who have suffered an injury
--React to an unconscious victim
--Enroll in lifesaving, first aid and CPR training from accredited agencies.

The Great Lakes are sometimes referred to as the “Third Coast” of the United States and the “Third Coast” can have "Ocean Force" rip currents during windy weather conditions.  Each Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class will provide an opportunity to cause rip current awareness through the classroom as well as media opportunities.

  • Third Coast Surf Shop, Ryan Gerard
St. Joseph and New Buffalo, MI

  • Surfrider Foundation, Chicago Chapter, John Swiatowiec Chapter Chair
Chicago, IL

  • Great Lakes Surfer Magazine, Mike Killion
Chicago, IL

  • Great Lakes Board Company, Ian Jacobson, owner
Chicago, IL

  • Surfrider Foundation, Lake Michigan Chapter, Vince Deur & Ingrid Lindfors
Grand Haven, MI

  • Surf Grand Haven, Will Beaton
Grand Haven, MI

  • Wet Mitten Surf Shop, Ben & John McNeil
301 N Harbor, Grand Haven, MI 49417
(616) 844-3388;

  • No Quarter Surf Boards, Marty Karish
Grand Haven, MI

  • Great Lakes Proud, Austin Holsinger

  • The Great Lakes Surfing Association, Bob Beaton
Grand Haven, MI

  • Beach Nut Surf Shop, Larry Bordine
1100 Main St., Frankfort, MI 49635

Additional partners and sponsors coming soon…

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