RNLI lifeguards rescue surfer and kayaker on the north Cornwall coast

Lifeguards News Release

RNLI lifeguards on patrol over the Easter school holidays have had a busy few days with large surf conditions resulting in a number of rescues along the north coast.

On Saturday (6 April) the beaches were busy with the sun and large surf conditions attracting surfers and holiday makers.

At Porthtowan beach RNLI lifeguards launched their inshore rescue boat (IRB) to a surfer who had been caught by the strong rips and strong easterly winds and taken out beyond the waves. He was unable to return to shore and signalled for assistance.

RNLI lifeguards Deshko Matthews and Connor Barker Warne negotiated the rescue craft through the large waves to pick up the surfer and return him safely to shore.

Deshko said;

‘I had advised the surfer and directed him to the patrolled surfing area, however during the afternoon the surf increased and the surfer was drawn by the rip currents and strong winds out of the area and eventually out amongst the large breaking waves at the back. We observed him for a moment and then immediately launched, it was our first call to action for over five months, however our training which we received over our induction period came to fruition and we felt confident in the large cold surf conditions.’

On Tuesday (9 April), RNLI lifeguards patrolling Perranporth beach rescued a kayaker who had become separated from his kayak in the breaking waves. RNLI lifeguard Fraser Hewitt-Thompson noticed the kayaker who had begun to drift out of the black and white flagged area. Just as he was radioing his colleagues, the kayaker fell out of his kayak and became separated from his equipment, RNLI lifeguard Will McRichie immediately paddled out on a rescue board to the casualty. Will had to paddle some 100 metres in big breaking surf before he reached the kayaker, pulling him onto the rescue board and taking him safely into shore.

Fraser says;

‘Although the incident and rescue were over fairly quickly, it was a scary moment for the casualty who was quite shaken up. He was fairly inexperienced and not local to the beach so not familiar with how conditions present themselves on this beach. Thankfully he was ok and able to enjoy the rest of his day with his family. We’d advise anyone arriving at the beach and planning on going in the water to take five extra minutes to chat to the lifeguards on duty, we’re very happy to provide some extra advice that might just make the difference.’

RNLI lifeguards will continue to patrol 19 beaches across Devon and Cornwall for the remainder of the Easter school holidays to 22 April. For information on which beaches are patrolled visit www.rnli.org.uk

Notes to editors

  • Please find attached an image of RNLI lifeguards Deshko Matthews and Connor Barker Warne battling big surf to reach a surfer in difficulty off Porthtowan credit Sarah Bunt
  • Please also follow the link here to view and download footage of RNLI lifeguard Will McRichie rescuing a kayaker off Perranporth beach credit RNLI

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Amy Caldwell on 07920818807 or amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

RNLI/Sarah Bunt

RNLI lifeguards rescue surfer in big surf conditions at Porthowan

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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