Wednesday, January 4, 2012

St. Joe & New Buff Surf Rescue Classes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  January 4, 2011
Ryan Gerard, 574-360-3977
Bob Pratt, 517-256-4600
Dave Benjamin, GLSRP Media Relations, 708-903-0166,

St. Joseph & New Buffalo Surf Rescue Classes

Representing the Great Lakes at San Diego Symposium

And “Lifesaver of the Year” Award Finalist

ST. JOSEPH AND NEW BUFFALO, MI – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project’s "Surfboard Rescue Techniques" class hosted June 5 in St. Joseph and August 28 in New Buffalo by Third Coast Surf Shop will be presenting its class at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance’s 11th Annual Symposium, March 7 – 10, 2012 in San Diego, California.

“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. 

“Presenting allows us to bring the issues unique to the Great Lakes to a national forum,” said Bob Pratt, Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project CEO.  “Our rip currents are different; they are caused by short fetch windswells, and our piers are solid structures that exacerbate the rip current problem.”

The Great Lakes have a short swimming season (typically three months), yet has a high number of drownings each year (87 in 2011; 74 in 2010; a two-year total of 161).

“Addressing these challenges at the symposium may result in greater interest by researchers and may also result in expanded funding,” Pratt added.  “The ultimate goal is and will always be the prevention of drowning by increased education and a culture of respect for the power of the Lakes.”

“We will showcase the broad range of efforts taking place in the Great Lakes region. While the region may be struggling economically, volunteer and non-profit groups have stepped in to fill voids caused by a lack of lifeguards and cuts to public safety and education.”

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project believes its class can serve as a national model bringing diverse groups of people together (the general public, surfers, law enforcement, and water rescue professionals) with the common goal of saving lives. 

The class teaches 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 first “Surfboard Rescue Techniques” class for 2012 is slated for Chicago the weekend of June 2-3 in coordination with National Rip Current Awareness week.

Bob Pratt and the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project have made the "Top 10 Finalist" list for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance's "Lifesaver of the Year" Award.  Voting for the winner will be on FaceBook Jan 4 to 31, 2012.  Click on the link now and then click on the "Thumbs Up" image to cast your VOTE to support saving lives on the Great Lakes!


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 National Drowning Prevention Alliance is a volunteer-driven 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 2004. NDPA members are dedicated to preventing drowning for all age groups in all bodies of water through public education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. The public is invited to join by visiting    

MORE INFORMATION about the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is at:

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH – List of Businesses and Organizations is at:

In the News – Overall Media Coverage:

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