Senior Editor

The Inertia

Like many of you who ride waves, I’ve got a soft spot in my crusty heart for lifeguards. That, and at one point long ago, I was one. The pay isn’t all that spectacular, the demands are high, no matter your post, and frankly, they have to deal with some real barnies.

But that wasn’t the case at this familiar San Diego spot. Apparently, an “expert surfer” got caught somewhere on the inside along that famous rock formation, had to release his leash then navigate a rip (and a world of hurt) during this gigantic swell event the West Coast just experienced.

In the video above, shot by one Robert La Fave, two lifeguards swim out to save the unidentified surfer and guide him back out to sea so the Jet Ski can drag all three of them in. There were a few dicey moments there (like the proximity of the Jet Ski to the swimmers on the inside) but as is usually the case, the life-saving personnel proved their mettle.


“We had a very accomplished expert surfer who got pushed in, stuck in a bad area and he had to pull his leash and try to swim out,” explained Lifeguard Chief James Gartland with San Diego Fire-Rescue. “So we sent two lifeguards out after him. They hooked him up and brought them out from a rip current to a safe area. And a jet ski came and picked up all three and brought the surfer to safety.”

Yeah, lifeguards aren’t always top of mind. Until shit hits the fan.


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