Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Surf Grand Haven Partners Surf Rescue Class

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 23, 2011

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

Surf Grand Haven Partners
with the "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class
Sun., Aug. 28,

NEW BUFFALO, MI – Surf Grand Haven 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. at Lions Pavilion Park and New Buffalo City Beach.

“Rip current drownings are a preventable tragedy that needs to be addressed,” said Will Beaton, Surf Grand Haven owner. “Rip currents are a problem especially when there are inexperienced swimmers in the water.”

“Surfers use rips whenever surfing along piers to get out past the breaks, and surfers are great first responders that may already be in the water before help can arrive,” Beaton added. 

Beaton has been surfing the Great Lakes since 1967.  His most notable surf rescue occurred in Lake Michigan November 10, 1975, at the same time the Edmund Fitzgerald was sinking in Lake Superior.  There were 14 ft. waves and treacherous rip currents.  The Coast Guard rescue craft could not overcome the waves in the channel and had to turn back while other rescue personnel could only stand by and watch as surfers fought the giant lake waves to keep two boys alive.  The surfers tried to get the boys in through the impact zone of the breaking waves, successfully rescuing one. 

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 “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” 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.


Surf Grand Haven is owned and operated by Will Beaton.  It specializes in marine weather forecasting and has a high resolution webcam with digital zoom for real-time images of the lakeshore in Grand Haven.  As a local surfer with practical knowledge of the Grand Haven lakeshore, Beaton offers the unique ability to forecast waves, rip currents and marine conditions.  In addition to his surfing experience, Beaton has a Master's Degree in Meteorology from the University of Michigan and over 30 years meteorology experience.  Surf Grand Haven is designed as a local information source to the residents, visitors, and everyone who has an interest in the weather conditions and overall activities occurring along the lakeshore so people can decide when and how to use the beach and lake for recreational activities.  For more information call 616 842-6254 or visit: http://www.surfgrandhaven.com/.
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 23, 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

  • 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; www.wetmitten.com

  • 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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