Monday, August 22, 2011

Third Coast Continues Surf Rescue Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  August 23, 2011

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

Third Coast Surf Shop’s Continued Partnership
with the "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class
Sun., Aug. 28, New Buffalo, MI

NEW BUFFALO, MI – Third Coast Surf Shop is excited to announce that it will be the “Host Surf Shop” for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class and "Third Coast Ocean Force" rip current awareness campaign Sunday, August 28, 9:30 a.m. EST, at Lions Pavilion Park and New Buffalo City Beach.

“We believe in the value of educating people on the power of rip currents in the Great Lakes,” said Ryan Gerard, Third Coast Surf Shop owner.  “The lack of knowledge amongst the general public is astounding.”

“Rip currents can be even more devastating than ocean rips simply because they are not as understood and appreciated as they are on the coasts,” said Gerard.  “That is why we see so many drownings in the Great Lakes.”

Gerard has surfed the Great Lakes for 14 years and has assisted swimmers to shore with his surfboard multiple times each year.  Third Coast’s surf instructors have even had to interrupt surf lessons to rescue swimmers caught in rip currents.

“The instructors just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” added Gerard.

Third Coast Surf Shop is currently working on supplying rescue boards for Great Lakes lifeguards and professional water rescue teams.  According to Gerard, rescue boards are an indispensable asset to these rescuers.

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.

Since 2005 Third Coast Surf Shop’s mission is to spread the joy of the surfing lifestyle throughout the Great Lakes. With locations in St. Joseph and New Buffalo, MI, Third Coast offers everything needed to experience the surfing lifestyle (a full line of surf and skate gear, rentals, lessons, repair, clothing, and accessories).  More information is at

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.

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
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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