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Big wave charger or beginner? Read this it could save your life

I have grown up in the water.

I’ve been swimming training for as long as I can remember and done more km’s than I care to forget.

I have bodysurfed, surfed, body boarded, board paddled, SUPed and Jetski’ed too. I have 10,000+ hours as a lifeguard and have 1000+ rescues under my belt.

Just Relax And Go With The Flow

Today I thought we should talk about panic.

Below is a photo of me and I’m pretty sure I get a serious beating after it, but after years of practice I’m able relax and let the wave take me.

Dean Gladstone surfing a large wave on Bondi Beach.

This means I maintain a lower heart rate, think more clearly and give myself every chance of survival.

If I was to panic in that situation and try and fight against the wave holding me under, my heart rate would increase, I would use up my stored oxygen in my blood stream and I would get exhausted quicker.

This is similar to a non-swimmer who panics in a rip.

They throw their arms round and fight against the current or rip.

These are the people that will go under due to exhaustion but the non-swimmer in a rip who does not panic and does not fight against the rip and can manage to stay calm will probably be ok and get washed in or rescued.

Try it next time you get dumped by a wave (if you’re ready for that step of course!).

See if you can relax and let the wave take you where it wants to.

Relax if you can! If you can’t, don’t worry, keep working at it. Like anything its takes a bit of practice.

One last safety note: When a big or small wave does take you I would recommend you roll to protect your head and neck, so that if you are slammed onto the bottom, you should roll onto your shoulder to protect yourself from a possible spinal injury.

Dean Gladstone

Dean Gladstone

Dean is a professional lifeguard and star of Bondi Rescue, holistic lifestyle coach (PT) and former champion surf swimmer.

1 comment

  • this is an absoulte beutifiul tip dean!!!! i a beach lifeguard and i can go on a rescue board, but ask me to stand on it and i’m hopeless!!! i recently bought a surfboard but i’m a bit dodgy going out on to big waves ( i already knew not to struggle ) because i was afraid of a spinal injury, but now i think i’ll just relax a bit 🙂


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