Some 32 people travelled from across Northern Ireland last weekend to attend four free surf survival clinics hosted by the RNLI on the Causeway Coast.
The charity’s lifeguards held the clinics on the East Strand in Portrush on Saturday and Sunday ahead of further clinics on Portstewart Strand this Saturday 2 March.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Tim Doran said surfers of all abilities benefited from the clinics which were aimed at developing both knowledge and skills in surf safety.
“We held four clinics over the weekend, each of which lasted three hours long. We had 32 candidates with a variety of interests including surfers, bodyboarders and kitesurfers. Throughout the clinics the participants learned first aid, basic casualty technique in the water and surf etiquette,” he said.
Tim said the sessions were well received with the participants enjoying the opportunity to become more knowledgeable on the water bearing surf safety in mind: “Many of those who participated were beginners so the clinics gave them the opportunity to develop a better awareness and deep understanding of surfing and the beach environment. What we are finding is that candidates are learning practical and useful skills which in turn should help them minimise any injuries should they get into trouble. It should also encourage safer surfing across beaches in Northern Ireland.
“The Causeway Coast is a popular area for water sports including surfing and body boarding and more people are taking to the sea every year for enjoyment.”
RNLI lifeguards operate on 10 beaches across Northern Ireland, as well as being on hand throughout the summer season in the event of an emergency. They also provide advice and assistance to all water users. This clinic has been run in other beach lifeguard areas by the RNLI and has proved popular with local surfers, who used it as a chance to brush up on their knowledge and skills and pass on their experiences to others.
Spaces are limited for Saturday’s session so advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Anyone who wishes to take part in the RNLI’s Surf Survival Clinic should be aged 18. The session is free but places are limited. To book a space or for more information, contact Tim Doran, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor on 077 899 25998.