Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surfrider Chicago Partners Rescue Class

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 24, 2011

Contact:
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Class Organizer & Media Relations
708-903-0166

Surfrider Chicago
 Partners with "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class

CHICAGO, IL & NEW BUFFALO, MI – Surfrider Foundation’s Chicago Chapter 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.

“Unfortunately I’ve seen people drown in front of my eyes,” said Mitch McNeil, Surfrider Chicago vice chair. “An inexperienced swimmer can panic very quickly in a rip current.”

“I know rips – the raging current that sweeps the coastlines – a constant and powerful menace every time the waves are big,” McNeil added.  “The surfboard rescue class is a great way to increase awareness and prevent the glut of Great Lakes drownings.”

McNeil has been riding waves since 1961, became an All American swimmer in 1972, and surfs the waves whenever he can.

According to McNeil, Surfrider is all about giving back through its appreciation of freshwater waves and belief that the Great Lakes water resources and coastlines are a real gift.  Chicago has hundreds of people who surf, whether on Lake Michigan, around the world, or both.

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.

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ABOUT SURFRIDER FOUNDATION
Surfrider Foundation is non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves, and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research, and education.  It has more than 50,000 members and 60 local chapters in the U.S. (plus additional international affiliates).  Its Chicago Chapter serves the coastline of Chicago, northeast Illinois, northwest Indiana, and also has members in Wisconsin.  To join Surfrider Foundation or to become a volunteer with the Lake Michigan Chicago Chapter initiatives, send an email to: chicago@surfrider.org or call John Swiatowiec, Chapter Chair, 312-961-0062; Website: http://ww2.surfrider.org/chicago/


ABOUT THE GREAT LAKES SURF RESCUE PROJECT
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 22, 2011, approximately 55 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.

1.  “SURFBOARD RESCUE TECHNIQUES” CLASS
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.

2.  “THIRD COAST OCEAN FORCE” RIP CURRENT PSA
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.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH:
  • 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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