Surfers learn rescue techniques

Lifeguard trainer, Kurt Holme of Buffalo, on the back of a surfboard, shows surfers a few techniques on how to use their boards to rescue people in trouble.

As waves built at Pleasant Beach, surfboards sat unused atop vehicles sitting outside a lodge at the end of Pleasant Beach Rd.
One could sense the 18 surfers sitting inside were itching to get out and take on the waves, but they waited patiently inside.
The surfers, from across Niagara, Toronto and Western New York, were at the lodge to take part in a Surfers Rescue Course on Sunday.
George Holmes, of Niagara-on-the-Lake Surf Club, said St. John Ambulance started off the day.
“We had hands-on training … St. John Ambulance taught us the latest CPR techniques,” said Holmes, who put on the day with the help of Surf Ontario, a Toronto-based surf shop, and its owner Mike Sandusky.
St. John Ambulance, which volunteered its time, also spoke about the effects of hypothermia and drowning.

George Holmes, of Niagara-on-the-Lake Surf Club, is rescued by Chantal Belisle, during a Surfers Rescue Course at Pleasant Beach, in Port Colborne.

After lunch, an accredited lifeguard showed the surfers how to use their boards as a lifesaving device, with demonstrations inside the lodge and out in the water, too.
The lifeguard, Kurt Holme of Buffalo, spoke to the surfers about how to deal with people in trouble in the water.
In drowning situations, people may panic and try and grab ahold of a rescuer, putting both in greater danger.
If a rescuer was grabbed a person in trouble, Holme said the rescuer may have to quickly submerge themself and that person underwater.
“Those people don’t want to be underwater … they’ll let go of you.”
Holme showed various ways — rolls, spins and underwater somersaults — to gain control of a person that could be panicking in the water.

Though it looks like Chantal Belisle is choking Craig Duncan, the two are actually practicing a rescue technique. With the technique, Duncan grabbed Belisle’s head and did an underwater somersault to dislodge her.

Many of the techniques shown could be used by surfers without their boards.
“If you didn’t have your board, you could tow a person in to shore. It would work best on a passive victim.”
Holme also showed ways of using surfboards to gain control as well.

Kurt Holme, a lifeguard trainer, right, shows surfers how to get a person, in this case Welland’s Craig Duncan, on to a surfboard.

While there was a demonstration using a board inside, a number of the surfers took the waters to practice the techniques.
Waves coming in at Pleasant Beach were about three feet tall and growing, said Holmes, a finish carpenter when he’s not on waves.
Because of the growing wave conditions, the surfers moved farther west down the beach, just offshore of Sherkston Shores. The waves were smaller there and the beach more protected from the conditions, making it easier to conduct the training.

George Holmes, of Niagara-on-the-Lake Surf Club, is rescued by Chantal Belisle, during a Surfers Rescue Course at Pleasant Beach, in Port Colborne.

“We usually surf in the worst conditions. If you look at charts of drownings on Lake Erie, most happen in 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 foot waves,” said Holmes.
People have drowned in conditions similar to what the surfers were out in on Sunday, just up from the beach where they were training.
“We may be able to help people that are in trouble,” said Holmes.
The training, Holmes said, could help surfers themselves, especially new surfers who may not know rip currents and shore breaks at various beaches they surf.
And as soon as the training was done, Holmes and a number of the surfers grabbed their boards and headed right back out to get in a session before the waves died off.

George Holmes can’t resist surfing a wave during a rescue training course for surfers.

Mike Sandusky, of Surf Ontario, left, is rescued by Robin Pacquing-Medieros, right, during a rescue course for surfers.

Chantal Belisle, right, uses a technique to flip George Holmes on a surfboard during a rescue course for surfers.

George Holmes, right, uses a technique to flip Chantal Belisle on his surfboard during a rescue course for surfers.

Mike Sandusky, of Surf Ontario, right, uses a technique to flip Robin Pacquing-Medieros on his surfboard during a rescue course for surfers.

Welland’s Craig Duncan uses his surfboard to rescue someone during a rescue course for surfers.

 

 

 

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