Thursday, August 4, 2011

Surfrider Foundation partners with Surf Rescue Class

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 5, 2011

Dave Benjamin, Class Organizer
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project

Surfrider Foundation
Partners with the "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class

GRAND HAVEN, MI – The Lake Michigan Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is excited to announce that it will be partnering with the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project for its "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class and "Third Coast Ocean Force" rip current awareness campaign Sunday, August 7, 9:30 a.m. at Grand Haven State Park Pavilion.

“I know surfers make a difference in saving lives, and we can always learn more,” said Vince Deur, Surfrider Foundation Lake Michigan Chapter co-founder. “Every warm beach day when we have waves, my heart flutters because I feel like somebody is going to get into trouble.”

The “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class is FREE and OPEN to the public.  It 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.

Deur has been surfing the Great Lakes for 30 years, is an expert at surviving potentially deadly rip currents, and is also with the Water Safety Task Force.  

“For as long as I can remember, I have been mesmerized by water,” Deur added.  “These are not lakes; they are truly inland freshwater seas. 

“Inexperienced swimmers may head towards rip currents because it's where waves seem the calmest.  If ever caught in a rip current, the natural instinct is to swim straight for the shore and tire yourself out.  This could be tragic. Instead swim parallel to the shore.”

Deur’s own near-death rip current experience inspired him to make a documentary film, “Unsalted: A Great Lakes Experience”. The movie captures surf enthusiasts and explores why they do it – surf the best lake waves in the worst weather (


Since 2007 the Lake Michigan Surfrider Chapter gives surfers and beachgoers a mechanism to support clean water initiatives and protect access to Great Lakes beaches and surf breaks (  In 2008, Deur was one of several surfers representing Surfrider that requested that the city of Chicago lift the surfing ban.  Deur also spoke about the possibility to offer classes to teach people about lake waves, rip currents and Great Lakes water safety (

In 2010 approximately 74 people drowned in the Great Lakes primarily due to rip currents.  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.

  • Surfrider Foundation, Vince Deur & Ingrid Lindfors
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
  • Third Coast Surf Shop, Ryan Gerard
St. Joseph and New Buffalo, MI
  • Beach Nut Surf Shop, Larry Bordine
1100 Main St., Frankfort, MI 49635
  • Additional partners and sponsors coming soon…

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