Meet The Unsung Heroes Saving The Lives of the World’s Best Surfers


Surfers get all the limelight, the prize money, the members of the opposite sex, etc. etc. Time to shine the light on the unsung heroes that keep them alive. Behind every big wave contest is a passionate crew dedicated to keeping them breathing. Here is a little feature on the crew behind Cape Fear.



How important is the mental side of it… being able to deal with the situation on a psychological level?

Each person on the water safety team has to go into it thinking that they could have someone unconscious in the water, they could have someone drowned, and they’re going to have to resuscitate them. The expectation is that this is real and this can happen, and that’s a really important thing. This is not something where we cross our fingers and hope nothing happens – we know that something will happen, and whether it’s a minor injury or major injury, we need to be prepared.

We had some insane stats last year at Cape Fear. To name a few… a surfer had a 13.2% chance of a minor injury, whether that’s a cut or a muscle tear. So you know that everyone will have some sort of injury. Then we calculated that 1 in every 136 waves, there was the chance for a catastrophic injury to occur. That means a major incident or a death. Putting that in context, the calculation for a base jumper is 1 in 60 chance of death. A surfer had a 75% chance of falling in the first 30 minutes of Heat 3 on Day 2. A surfer had a 47.1% chance of not making it out of the barrel. Each surfer had a 26.5% chance they would hesitate when being towed in. The list goes on…


So we have goals – like, it’s acceptable to drown, but it’s not acceptable to recover the person within four minutes – because after four minutes we start to get into the realms of brain-dead. When we get to four, five or six minutes, we’re on the very borderline of bringing someone back to life.

All of the surfers are aware of the inherent risks going into these conditions. They could potentially die, and they know that – but we have the best watermen in the world right there at their fingertips – and we have the best systems and processes in place to make sure that these guys are allowed to take a risk.




Click to RED BULL SURFING to meet the unsung heroes saving the world’s best surfers lives in the Cape Fear contest.




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