Scotts Head family learn surfboard rescue together

Avalon Vowels in the ‘leg hook’ with her father Luke, brother Sandon and mother Crystal looking on.

A FAMILY of Scotts Head surfers has learnt how to rescue in emergencies with only one’s surfboard to help.

Crystal and Luke Vowels, and their children Avalon and Sandon, joined a Surfers Rescue 24/7 workshop in Sawtell, led by trainer Katie Hookings.

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They were taught specialised board rescue techniques which will empower them to be able to act swiftly and decisively in critical moments.

Surfers Rescue 24/7 is a free board rescue and accredited CPR course for NSW recreational surfers.

Boardriders are often the first responders in coastal emergencies and often are the only ones there to help someone in need.

“Most surfers ride shortboards,” Trainer Katie Hookings told News Of The Area.

“To get someone who’s struggling onto them is a hard feat, especially if they are unconscious.”

Katie taught the group how to roll a patient onto a board and secure them in a ‘leg hook’.

This involves rotating the patient onto their back, ensuring their head remains above the water.

The rescuer then hooks their legs under the patient’s armpits, before crossing their legs to secure the patient.

Katie also taught sideways paddle techniques, how to use the surfboard as a floatation device, how to keep a patient’s head above water and how to get them to the shore safely and calmly.

“Scotts (Head) is safe most of the time, but people get lulled by that.

“Once Luke had to paddle in and show a beginner the rip she was in and guide her out of it,” Crystal Vowels told News Of The Area.

“You can get quite a sweep in the water and you have to be cautious around those big eastern swells.”

The Vowels children have not done the Nippers program, yet were surprisingly quick with answers on First Aid steps, such as danger, response, send for help, airway, breathing, CPR and defibrillation.

They passed the CPR simulation on adults and infants and after the course, got their wetsuits back on and went out with Dad to catch a few barrels out the front.


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