Fundraiser at The Deck

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by islasurforg No Comments

Come join us at The Deck in Hermosa on Sunday, September 14th for an ISLA fundraiser!

The Deck

We are raising money for: The Bahia Asuncion Lifeguard and Jr. Lifeguard Program! Our lifeguard team heads out on October 2nd, to Bahia Asuncion, Mexico to teach a junior lifeguard course! Learn more about our Bahia Asuncion trip!

Bahia Asuncion
Location: The Deck on the strand in Hermosa Beach.
Time: Daytime! Starts at 1pm!
What you get: $20 person for a wrist band for alcohol and some grub!
Sponsors: Anheuser-Busch
Transportation: From SD and OC to Hermosa.  Locations and Pick up times TBA.
DJ: Mike Wurzel
Are you ready? Join us at The Deck! We will have Flip cup, volleyball, a dodgeball tournament, and of course…some fun in the sun!


The Next Generation of ISLA

Posted on: August 23rd, 2014 by olin patterson No Comments


With the ISLA Surf Shop, members save money on surf products, while proceeds support drowning prevention and lifesaving efforts.

ISLA Members get their lifesaving kit, epic deals on surf products, and exclusive updates on ISLA operations around the globe.

In the beginning we were a handful of friends who wanted to take our knowledge of lifesaving to places that needed lifeguards the most. We scrounged, bummed, and fundraised the best we knew how to make our first international trip a reality at a place we heard needed it the most. That was the first year. From there momentum seemed to come from the most unlikely places as we continued to grow in the most unimaginable ways. Presentations to US Congress, meetings with monarch royalties, international media coverage, are all just a few of the countless milestones we’ve achieved in working in over 13 countries. The ISLA family has grown to be a strong and passionate group of volunteers worldwide. It has been a wild six years, filled with immense ups and downs, and a lot of intensive but rewarding hard work.

We are grateful there is an ever-growing need for the service ISLA provides around the globe, and we are eager to see that need is met in every way possible and for the decades to come. So how do we ensure the mission of ISLA is fulfilled? And more important, how do we preserve that model to ensure it grows to meet the ever-growing demand for lifesaving programs for decades to come?

We’ve been intensively hard at work behind the scenes for nearly the past year to answer that question: Enter the next generation of ISLA.

We are putting our resources to work. We are putting our contacts to work. We are putting our hundreds of volunteers and our tens of thousands of loyal fans to work. We are all in in making a sustainable and scalable enterprise that benefits our mission and to everyone that wants to make a difference in the world we live in. We’ve launched an online store and membership that relate to each other to bring the most benefit to our customers, members and most important our ISLA operations.

We’ve negotiated the best deals and prices in premium surf, lifesaving and adventure products. We’ve also aligned affordable warehouse space, an army of workers, and marketing grant funds to ensure great profit margins for products sold on our new online store that are forwarded to ISLA operations and cost savings for our members. Be on the lookout, as we’ve also been traveling across the country to some of the largest brands to secure their products in our store as well. In the coming year, you’ll find one of the most diverse product selections of surf, lifesaving and adventure products online. All with unbeatable members prices, customer service, and guarantees, while your purchases fund ISLA projects.

As a member, you’ll receive our membership kit, updates from projects around the globe, and automatic premium discount prices on some of the best surf and adventure products in the market. You’ll benefit with saving money when you shop, making a difference with what you are buying, while supporting a scalable business model that enables ISLA operations to expand exponentially.

Join us in being a member and seeing first hand the work that is being done. Shop ISLA surf shop and save while contributing to the ISLA operations. Lastly, tell your friends and family how a business model like this can benefit you while making lasting change around the world.

This is where you enter the ISLA story that is still just beginning. Welcome to our family!

ISLA Storms the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

Posted on: August 23rd, 2014 by Henry Reyes No Comments

OR Summer Market

Since the launch of the ISLA Surf Shop less than two months ago, we’ve seen thousands of dollars in revenue. This makes our online store ISLA’s most profitable fundraiser to date! In order to keep up with the demand for additional products in time for the upcoming holiday season, we sent a team of merchandisers to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the Outdoor Retailers Summer Market.

ISLA volunteers Henry Reyes & Julia Sanchez scoured the Salt Lake City Convention center for three days, connecting with current partners and meeting new ones, building relationships that will open new roads and new opportunities for ISLA to fund so many new projects and create a sustainable means for supporting our water safety initiatives around the globe!

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

“Sharing the ISLA mission never gets boring.  I love retelling the stories about our twenty plus humanitarian projects because it not only brings a smile to their faces, I see how they open up and embrace it.” – Henry

The three-day hustle was no walk in the park for our volunteers.  With no travel budget, and a work schedule of 7am to 7pm back-to-back-to-back, the trip had a strategically orchestrated agenda in order to hit those key contacts.  Tons of free tote bags, keychains, lip balms, protein bars later, and contacts, we can call it a successful weekend for sure!

“While still providing our supporters with great deals, our ISLA Surf Shop is also able to generate a margin that goes directly to funding ISLA’s operations. Our goal at Outdoor Retailer was to make sure we nail-down the deals so that our members get at least a 20% savings on the products they want!”- Julie


Coming Soon to the ISLA Surf Shop!!!

About the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market:
Summer Market is the largest outdoor sports and adventure show of its kind.  Retailers from around the world come to Summer Market for the largest collection of innovative gear, apparel, footwear and accessories for outdoor sports products including adventure travel, backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking, fishing, fly fishing, health and fitness, military, nutrition/natural products, paddlesports, watersports, SUP, pet products, running, trail running, surf, skate, lifestyle, triathlon, multisport endurance, and the newest category yoga/Pilates.

I Got Into Lifeguarding To Help Make A Difference

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by islasurforg No Comments

Get to know our volunteer lifeguard, Silver Fox, and Fireman, Steven Vaughan! He joined ISLA on our trip to the Dominican Republic for the wild weekend of Easter (Semana Santa)! As Steve says, “Don’t let the grey fool ya!”



When did you start lifeguarding?

I started lifeguarding in 1980. At a place called Meads Pool, look it up, it’s on Facebook.


What got you into lifeguarding?

I got into lifeguarding to help make a difference, but mainly to educate the community about water safety and to help reduce water related injuries.


Where have you lifeguarded around the world?

Just the USA, and as of April, Cabarete, D.R.


What was the ISLA Dominican Republic trip like?

I had the honor and privilege of being selected for Semana Santa, Dominican Republic. It was an awesome experience with an awesome crew. Our job was to educate an all girl’s school about water safety and lifeguarding, which was a success, and our main objective and priority was zero drowning’s during Semana Santa, also a huge success. It was also about focus, excellent situational awareness, and awesome teamwork!!


What interested you most about ISLA?

Anything dealing with lifeguarding is certainly going to interest me. I was impressed with what the program was about( making a difference, education, and prevention) and I decided that it would be a great experience, to meet new and awesome people that share the same passion as me. It was also an opportunity to learn other lifeguarding and water safety techniques. I honestly didn’t think I would be selected because of my age, but fortunately, I was selected.


What do you love most about volunteering for ISLA?

First, The difference that we made with educating several people about water safety, especially with the Mariposa School. There were lots laughter, happiness, and smiles, these children loved every minute of the program. Second, zero drowning’s during Semana Santa, Saturday was overwhelming, but our team persevered and overcame some barriers to adapt to the surroundings and get the job done.


Why are you a lifeguard?

That’s a good question, since we all know that this job and the water can be unforgiving, tiring, and very demanding. But lifeguarding can be such a great positive influence on everyone. It helps promote a team oriented environment and a better sense of situational awareness.


What inspires you?

Teamwork, working together to help others and to overcome obstacles/barriers/problems, positive results.


What do you do outside of volunteering for ISLA?

I work for the Elizabeth City Fire Department, (28 years) assigned to Ladder Company 1, lifeguard on a small beach for Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City. I am also a member of Pasquotank Providence Volunteer Fire Dept.



Favorite piece of rescue equipment and Why?

I don’t really have a favorite piece of rescue equipment, but I know the importance of rescue equipment and use it as much as possible, especially the can.


How will you continue to prevent drowning?

It will always be education and prevention, especially with the children.


What is your hope for drowning prevention?

Of course I’m going to say that I hope it continues and keeps getting better, especially with education and prevention. It looks like we will have to use more technology to reach out to our younger electronic generation.



Of course Lifeguarding, but it’s more like my passion. Sailing, scuba diving, and soccer.



Associate degree in Fire Protection Technology and a Bachelor degree in Occupational Safety and Health


My goals in life?

To keep lifeguarding as effectively and safely as I can, I’m getting old you know, and to take care of my family and friends.



Teaching lifeguarding.


Favorite Sport?

Soccer, of course….is there any other sport?


Favorite music?

Classic rock and some modern rock.


What is your favorite beach?

Well… now it’s Cabarete, Dominican Republic.


Describe yourself in 3 words.

Dedication, determination, and empathy.


Want to join our team?

We’re looking to add more people to our volunteer team. Are you someone with the desire to travel the world? Someone passionate about helping others? Are you interested in volunteering for an organization that changes the lives of thousands of people around the world?

Apply to join our team of International Lifeguards!

2014 ISLA Junior Lifeguard Scholarship Winner

Posted on: June 12th, 2014 by islasurforg No Comments

We are proud to say that for our third year of the ISLA’s Junior Guard scholarship, we were blown away with the number of applicants we had! ISLA would like to thank everyone who applied and for sharing your inspiring videos with us. Our only regret is that we weren’t able to give every applicant a full junior lifeguard scholarship.

The winner of the 2014 scholarship is Zeia Rose, a nine year old girl from Mammoth Lakes, California. Zeia would like to follow in her father’s, grand father’s and uncle’s footsteps by one day becoming a lifeguard. Zeia is also passionate about the ocean and helping others and believes that becoming a Jr. Guard is the first step.

We are excited and can’t wait to check in on Zeia throughout the summer season. We’ll be compiling a photo album series that highlights her junior lifeguard experience.

Although a video was not required for this years applicants, Checkout Zeia’s video scholarship entry.

ISLA Jr. Lifeguard Scholarship Award Winners:

2014 ($625 tuition award): Zeia Rose, 9 years old from Mammoth Lakes, CA.
2013 ($575 tuition award): Lauren Schlick, 15 years old from La Mirada, CA.
2012 ($575 tuition award): Richard Ramirez, 12 years old from Montebello, CA.
2012 ($575 tuition award): Gabriela McCain, 15 years old from Costa Mesa, CA.


2012 JG Video Series:

Part 1: Meet the Winners

Part 2: First Day of Junior Guards

Part 3: Pier Jumps and Pier Swims

Part 4: Graduation

A Lifeguard Becomes a Great Lifeguard Once…

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by islasurforg 1 Comment


Our morning alarm is the Atlantic sunrise or the hopeful anticipation of surf. For Corolla Ocean Rescue, our daily routine happens to be adjusted daily. We do not blend in at the beach with those sunburnt and tangled amongst hilarious assortments of flimsy umbrellas and fussy children.

As lifeguards, we mentally prepare ourselves to manage emergency situations, as well as dealing with the mundane and frustrating experiences to which any guard can attest.  This spectrum ranges from performing CPR to answering, “What time do the dolphins come out?”  Not many people have the slightest idea of our responsibilities; therefore they lack the knowledge of how we prepare for and go about our days on the beach.  We know the beach inside and out. The waves, the weather, the sandbars, the wind, the tides, you name it; we collect these factors and go from there.

Lifeguards are trained to perform rescues and assist the patrons in any way necessary.  We are able to decrease the need for physical interaction through means of proactive and educational prevention.  A lot of beach-goers pay little attention to the lifeguard, and have no idea how valuable a simple conversation can be for the safety of their family.  Of course, a beach is much safer with a lifeguard manning the tower, but the highest potential for the safest beach lies in our hands as vigilant lifeguards.  Justifying this has been personified through the immortalized words of Corolla’s Lifeguard Captain, Mike Hudson, “It is easy to be a good lifeguard; it is hard to be a great lifeguard.”

There have been so many times, during a preventative mass advisory that the rip current being described is in fact pulling another victim out to sea.  A lot of people are embarrassed when they are seen being rescued from a rip current, but (in most situations) the embarrassment should be placed on the lifeguard.  One day I recall in particular, I was making a mass advisory to hundreds of beach patrons.  During the advisory I remember completely throwing myself under the bus so that the fear of swimming in the ocean was a little more bearable for the two brothers I had just rescued.  I told the brothers (and everyone else) that it was absolutely no fault of theirs, and that I was to blame for not telling them where it was unsafe to swim.  We need to admit our mistakes and ensure the public that we are aware of our responsibility to inform them to the best of our ability.  It is easy to sit and watch someone on the edge of a rip…we’ve all done it.  Set an example, talk to everyone, and redefine our stereotype.

I believe that experiences like these differentiate a good lifeguard from a great lifeguard.  Obviously this was not a riveting, edge of your seat example, yet it shows how aware a lifeguard should be in regards to his or her personal interaction with the patrons of the beach.  It all comes down to education and awareness, and this has to start on an individual level.  A lifeguard becomes a great lifeguard once he or she has fully embraced the responsibility of the job and expresses and outward eagerness to hold themselves accountable.

ISLA shares this acknowledgment of accountability, and that is the exact reason I feel the urge to put forth my best effort in supporting them.  I live on the West Coast now, but my NC roots will never come undone.  Regardless of where we choose to lifeguard, we need to do our best; we need to be great.

Learn more about ISLA volunteer, Ross Monroe.