Over the past forty years, the California Surf Lifesaving Association (CSLSA) has run an exchange program between Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and California Lifeguards. It started back in 1969 and has a rich tradition of exchanging professional and volunteer lifesaving techniques and equipment.
ISLA’s Manager of National Relations, Morgan McGowan, and Manager of Training & Education, Jesse Heydorff, have been past participants of this educational exchange. Both McGowan and Heydorff have shared vital information with ISLA which they learned through this valuable lifeguard exchange. We at ISLA would like to thank the CSLSA for their continued support of lifesaving and keeping this exchange running.
While on his lifesaving voyage around the world, Morgan McGowan, Manager of National Relations toured the north-east coast of Australia. Starting in Brisbane he toured the Gold Coast before heading north along the Sunshine Coast. Along the way he stopped at several surf clubs including Caloundra, Coolum Beach, Noosa Heads, Mooloolaba, and all the way up to Cairns. This was a very informal exchange where he managed to secure numerous contacts for future collaborative efforts, exchange stories with fellow lifesavers, and have a good time. While in Australia, Morgan managed to dive the Great Barrier Reef which along with lifesaving, ocean conservation and ecology is a true passion of his as a Marine Biologist.
ISLA President Henry Reyes and Manger of Disaster Response Michael Hudson led Project Ecuador’s “Team Playas”, a group of seven lifeguards from the United States. Team Playas was responsible for guarding over two miles of ocean. During the 4 day Carnival celebration the team worked with local professional Playas lifeguards.
Starting in the beginning of 2012, Angel Ponovski of the newly founded Water and Mountain Rescue Organization begin talks with ISLA about assisting with a volunteer exchange program for regions in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. ISLA is beginning to organize a game plan for future projects in the Balkans including assisting with providing resources for Macedonia’s newly founded Rescue Organization. Plans of an exchange and training course are being planned for May 2013.
Nicaragua is the home of ISLA’s Central American operations.
Since 2009 ISLA has been sending a growing team to help with the massive amounts of crowds that attend the beaches during the Nation’s holiday week of Semana Santa. Our efforts have gone to decrease the nation’s average drowning rate by 75% during the weeklong festivities. We hope to continue this effort until there are zero drownings in the country of Nicaragua.
Past ISLA operations in Nicaragua have included guarding the beaches of San Juan Del Sur (the countries most popular resort destination) El Transito, Mira Mar, Jiquilio, Paso Cabillo, and the Lago de San Jorge (a local, prehistoric volcanic lake).
Over Semana Santa 2012, ISLA is sending a team back to Nicaragua to assist the Red Cross’s rescue efforts during the holiday season. ISLA will also conduct our first basic open water lifeguard course in the country.
In an effort to educate and promote aquatic safety, ISLA conducted its 1st Open Water Lifeguard course in 2011. Participants from the Dominican Civil Defense learned about common open water risks, basic aquatic rescue techniques, basic first aid, and CPR. Since that first project, ISLA has conducted numerous others and will continue working with Dominicans toward the ultimate goal of complete sustainability of ocean lifeguard programs to reduce death by drowning in the country.
Since 2008, ISLA Directors and volunteers have been traveling to the small community of Chapultepec, Baja California to meet fellow Mexican lifeguards and share valuable lifesaving information. This exchange of knowledge and friendship is one of the core fundamentals of the International Surf lifesaving Association.
Recently ISLA lifeguards joined the official IBLA exchange with the Tijuana Lifeguards and have 4 trips planned to Tijuana, Rosarito, Cerritos/Todos Santos and Tulum/Cancun for the 2012 – 2013 year!
ISLA has partnered with Claudio Pradenas Abarca and la Escuela de Guardavidas SEAL, a private lifesaving agency founded by Claudio that now provides services up and down the Chilean coast. Claudio is an all around waterman and his team’s expertise goes far beyond basic open water rescue, encompassing swift water, advanced dive rescue, and almost any other water related rescue imaginable. ISLA currently organizes an exchange program with Guardavidas SEAL.
The United States of America has played an important role in the growth of the International Surf Lifesaving Association. From its birth in California in 2008, to the finish line of our first nationwide fundraiser, the U.S. has played a central role in ISLA’s operations.
The Majority of ISLA volunteers are professionals in the emergency medical response industry and are represented by agencies throughout the entire country. Our projects have included representatives from the following agencies:
California State Parks Lifeguards
Corolla Ocean Rescue
Del Mar City Lifeguards
Long Beach City Lifeguards
Los Angeles City Lifeguards
Los Angeles County Lifeguards
Fernandina Beach Lifeguards
Huntington City Beach Lifeguards
Imperial Beach Lifeguards
Jacksonville City Beach Lifeguards
Newport Beach Lifeguards
San Diego City Lifeguards
Santa Barbra City Lifeguards
ISLA’s headquarters is strategically located in Huntington Beach, CA. “Surf City” has become a central place for our organization’s planning and operations. We conduct training seminars, fundraisers, and prepare ourselves to service our community, and beaches in an effort to save lives.