Free CPR course for surfing community

Jess Grimwood wants more Coasties to take on Surfers Rescue 24/7

A new partnership between Surfing NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) is giving the Coast’s surfing community the opportunity to learn lifesaving CPR skills for free.

The partnership sees Surfing NSW combine its free to access Surfers Rescue 24/7 program with SLS NSW’s Living Room Lifesaver program to ensure that anyone interested in getting CPR certified still has the means to do so during COVID-19.

Surfers Rescue 24/7 is a NSW Government supported board rescue program that empowers surfers with the skills and knowledge to act in emergency situations.

While CPR is typically covered by the program, Surfing NSW was forced to scale it back from face-to-face delivery to online only due to the pandemic.

Around the same time, SLS NSW launched Living Room Lifesaver, an online course for frontline workers and everyday folk in home isolation to achieve CPR certification.

With both programs working towards the same goal, the partnership was an ideal arrangement, and Living Room Lifesaver now counts as one component of Surfers Rescue 24/7.

Bateau Bay pro surfer turned Surfing NSW commentator, Jess Grimwood, has completed the program herself.

Now a champion for the cause, Jess reckons the Coast’s legion of beach rats would benefit immensely from the training.

A long-time member of North Shelly Boardriders Club, Jess said the Coast’s population and tourism booms over the past 15 years had led to more surfers performing citizen rescues and first aid.

“The Coast has become a really popular destination, but a lot of our beaches aren’t patrolled and unfortunately we get a lot of visitors who know nothing about ocean safety, so it’s pretty common for the local surfing community to perform rescues,” Jess said.

“I know plenty of young surfers who’ve rescued people from rips or who’ve gotten into trouble on the water.

“At the Boardriders Club, pretty much all the kids have a story to tell, which is why I think Surfers Rescue is really worthwhile.

“It’s a really simple, easy to understand program that teaches people specific techniques that increase their chances of performing a successful rescue,” Jess explained.

Jess said the CPR component was just as important, with unwitting rescuers sometimes finding themselves witnesses to life or death situations.

“The thing about ocean rescues is that there’s always going to be this period before emergency services arrive and get onto the beach.

“There’s no way around that, especially in winter when the lifeguards and lifesavers aren’t patrolling, so usually surfers aren’t just rescuers, they’re first responders, and that’s why getting more surfers CPR certified is so important,” Jess said.

By completing Living Room Lifesaver, participants will learn: Primary assessment and CPR on adults and infants; Key principles of providing basic emergency care; How to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED); and get the latest guidelines on the impact of COVID-19 in performing CPR, including the use of pocket masks.

Press release, Jun 19
Ethan Smith, Surfing NSW
Interview, Jun 19
Jess Grimwood, Bateau Bay
Reporter: Dilon Luke