Watch: Connected by Water // The story behind the big wave safety movement
The origin story of the big wave floatation vest is well-known: How in 2010, a two-wave hold down at Mavericks inspired Shane Dorian to develop the V1 floatation vest.
The vest has become a safety standard and has allowed big wave paddle surfing to keep progressing. It's not the only thing, however, BWRAG - Big Wave Risk Assesment Group - has armed big wave surfers with the skills to rescue and rescuscitate fellow surfers, collectively raising their confidence.
BWRAG has its own origin story, one that also began at Mavericks albeit a year after Dorian's wipeout.
From the makers of Connected by Water:
The loss of surfer Sion Milosky at Mavericks in 2011 left the big wave surfing community reeling from the loss of another talented surfer. It was a wake-up call. Big wave surfing was advancing faster than safety protocols, and something had to change. Later that year, a group of surfers led by Kohl Christensen and Danilo Couto gathered in Kohl’s barn on the North Shore of Oʻahu and held a CPR course taught by a veteran emergency room nurse. This was the first unofficial meeting of the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group (BWRAG). The following year, BWRAG held its first public summit at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore, expanding its teachings from CPR to first aid, water rescue skills and more.
A couple of years later, veteran Hawaiian lifeguard, surfer and ocean risk specialist Brian Keaulana joined BWRAG, bringing with him decades of ocean safety knowledge that substantially expanded BWRAG’s training offerings. Over the next decade, BWRAG evolved into an international gold standard, holding summits all over the world that covered ocean risk management, CPR and AED training, first-aid medical intervention, spot analysis, mindful breathing and energy management, emergency action planning and water rescue, taught by some of the world’s best emergency response-trained big wave
The 2020 class schedule was canceled due to COVID-19 and in its place, BWRAG’s Surf Responder Online Course will be available in January 2021. Pre-sale is currently open here. These classes give the participant the training, knowledge and