SURF SAFETY

PUBLISHED: 18:09 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:38 30 August 2017

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Teach me something I don’t know: Simon Tregoning gives something back

with a spot of life-saving training - but who’s teaching who?

Ever tried lying down on the beach where the waves lap the sand and then rolling into them? Or getting on to your knees in the shallows and challenging the waves to knock you over? I do, every Saturday morning. When you reach my age there are not many excuses to act like a seven year old but I have one in my role as coach for the youngest group at our local Surf Life Saving Club.

When I first joined I was the typical alpha male refusing to teach any but the top class who could go out in all conditions. But I learnt quite quickly that this was not the top job at all because the pupils often knew more than me, were fitter than me and generally seemed to end up helping me more than I did them. I eventually worked it out……..the little ones are more enthusiastic, might actually listen to me (when not digging in the sand) and it is rewarding to see them gain confidence with every session. So I have stuck with the littles’ leaving my colleagues to train the lifeguards of the future.

As we come to that time of the year when we all start piling into the waves here are my two key bits of lifeguarding awareness that I would like my little group to understand by the time we finish our season in September. Not all of us are natural fish, so I hope that it also helps those who are not surf gods or regular beach goers.

Waves come in pulses of smaller ones and bigger ones, always keep an eye out for the bigger sets of waves…….which surfers unimaginatively call Sets’. Look beyond the breaking waves and out to sea for these bigger Sets and make sure that you get back to a comfortable depth when they do come in.

If you get caught in a rip, try not to panic, keep your breathing calm. Try to get the attention of a lifeguard by waving one arm in the air. A rip is a current in the sea a bit like a river so look ashore and use landmarks to work out which way you are being dragged and then swim slowly and steadily at right angles to the current until you come out of it. Then, once you are sure that you are out of the rip, head for shore.

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