RNLI Jersey lifesaver shines at British Surfing Championships

Lifeguards News Release

Last weekend (25/26 May) saw St. Ouen's Bay play host to the 2019 British Surfing Championships.

Rob Currie

Nathan Elms in action at the British Surfing Championships

The sixteen qualifiers from England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands were competing for first place and for the Olympic qualifier in Japan later in the year. Local surfer (and RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor) Nathan Elms, took third place in the British Cup.

Although a first-time entrant to this event, Nathan had already taken first place at the Junior British Championships and The Channel Islands Championships. After taking a few years out from serious competition, he returned this year with a fantastic performance.

Nathan said, “I’ve enjoyed surfing without the pressure of competition for a while now, but I really wanted to push myself again and started on a training programme last year. The hard work paid off at the weekend and placing in home waters felt great.

“It’s been a while since I’ve competed seriously, and it was really good to get back into competition mode out there in the water with the top surfers from around Britain. The Channel Islands Surfing Federation provided brilliant support too – it was a really memorable event.”

Since moving to the island at the age of six, Nathan has developed detailed knowledge of the Jersey waters – something which serves him very well in his job as an RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor. When the lifeguards returned to the beach at Easter, Nathan began his eighth season with the organisation. Although he’s not on duty 24/7, he surfs all year round in the island’s waters and is always ready to use his many years of lifesaving training and experience. In 2017, while on holiday in Bali, Nathan rescued six people from a cave where they were trapped by a rapidly rising tide – using his trusty surfboard.

He said, “As well as getting to enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, surfing Jersey year-round means I get to develop good relations with the surf community here, and to help keep water users safer. The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign relaunched this week, and, as lifeguards, we always want to get the messages out there about how cold water shock can kill and how people should practise the Float technique.”

Notes to Editors

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign recommends that if you fall into cold water unexpectedly, you should:

· Fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about – this can lead to breathing in water and drowning

· Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing

· Media contacts

For more information, or for interview requests, contact Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager for London and the south east, on 07827 358 256 / julie_rainey@rnli.org.uk , Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296 252 or paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 / pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

Nathan Elms in Bali after his surf rescue

RNLI/Nathan Elms

Nathan Elms in Bali after his surf rescue
Nathan Elms from the air during the British Surfing Championships

Bam Perspectives

Nathan Elms from the air during the British Surfing Championships

Key facts about the RNLI

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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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.