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South Hams RNLI lifeguards rescue struggling surfer in challenging conditions

Lifeguards News Release

On Saturday (8 July), RNLI lifeguards at Bigbury and Challaborough rescued a surfer on a beach in Devon. The surfer who had become unattached from his surfboard in large breaking waves was in danger of being smashed on the rocks in front of Challaborough beach.


RNLI Lifeguards Grace Kellett and Jess Rendell

On the opening day of lifeguard peak season (Saturday 8 July), RNLI lifeguards at Challaborough beach in Devon, spotted the surfer in difficulty and immediately requested the lifeguards at neighbouring Bigbury to assist with the unfolding incident.

RNLI lifeguard Jess Rendell paddled out from Bigbury on a rescue board through challenging conditions with a large swell and other water users to reach the surfer. While Jess headed out, Challaborough RNLI lifeguard Dom Fink paddled out to retrieve the surfers board from the rocks and bring it back safely to shore.

Senior RNLI Lifeguard at Challaborough, Daisy Womack, ran communications for the incident whilst lifeguard Grace Kellett at Bigbury, kept a close watch on the busy bathing area and continued to provide lookout for the rescue of the surfer.

Once on scene with the surfer, who was clearly exhausted after having endless powerful waves breaking on top of him, Jess assisted him onto the rescue board. She then safely negotiated the large breaking waves and an area busy with other water users to bring the surfer safely back to shore where they were checked over and given safety advice.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for the area, Luke Lane Prokopiou, said;

‘This incident demonstrates the importance of effective team work. It was a difficult rescue due to the conditions on the day, and I am very proud of all our lifeguards who worked hard and well together to bring the surfer to safety.’

The RNLI lifeguards are on patrol at all seven beaches in the South Hams from 10am-6pm, daily. These beaches are: Blackpool Sands, Slapton, Hope Cove, Bantham, Sedgewell Cove, Bigbury North, and Challaborough.

Notes to editors

· Photos of the RNLI lifeguards who worked together to rescue the surfer. From left to right: Grace Kellett, Jess Rendell, Daisy Womack and Dom Fink. (Credit: RNLI)

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RNLI Lifeguards Daisy Womack and Dom Fink

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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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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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