SURFER survival clinics will be held on Tynemouth Long Sands beach after a man had to be rescued by lifeguards.
The initiative comes after RNLI lifeguard Sandy Kerr pulled a 68-year-old man from the sea last Friday.
The man had been taking a surfing lesson along with a group of friends when he fell off his paddle board and hit the water hard, requiring medical attention.
The RNLI now plan to hold two sessions to teach the skills surfers and bodyboarders need to help keep themselves out of danger.
RNLI community engagement supervisor Ben Mitchell said: “As a group, water sports enthusiasts are very aware that the sea is a dynamic environment that must be respected, but whether you’re a novice or experienced at your sport, the sea can still catch you out.
“We’ll be running through lots of different scenarios and teaching coping strategies to people using the water.”
Experienced surfers and bodyboarders will be taught basic rescue techniques including how to recover casualties using their own surfboards or bodyboards.
For the less experienced there will be the opportunity to learn more about potential hazards both on the beach and in the water, including how to recognise and escape from the rip currents which are prevalent but easily avoidable with the right knowledge.
Ben added: “There’s no doubt that if Sandy hadn’t been able to respond so quickly, the casualty could have been in serious trouble.
“This man was in a controlled environment but the incident demonstrates that accidents can and do happen.
“I would urge everyone who can to come along and take advantage of what the sessions have to offer.
“As well as teaching vital survival skills, they are a fantastic opportunity for surfers to get to know each other, particularly newcomers to the sport, and should provide reassurance to those with less confidence as they continue to practise their sport through the autumn and winter months.”
The courses take place between 11am and 1pm on Tuesday, August 23, and Wednesday, August 24.
To attend, call Ben on 07791 584420 or visit Tynemouth Surf Co or Hurley’s Surf Shop, both in Tynemouth, to sign up.