Updated: Jun 28
"For surfers challenging dangerous waves like Pipeline, It’s not a matter of if, but when."
This is one of the first lines in Big Wave Guardians: First Responders of the Sea, accompanied by visuals of brutal wipeouts at one of the world's deadliest waves.
The truth is that drownings, near-drownings, and injuries don't just happen at iconic Pipeline. They can happen anywhere there are surfers and waves.
That's the running theme of Big Wave Guardians: First Responders of the Sea.
The 90-minute documentary explores the dramatic stories of Hawaii's big wave guardians, some of the world's best athletes, lifeguards, and surfers, who risk their lives in the world's most dangerous waves while inventing innovative water safety techniques previously unimagined.
But it also pushes the important narrative that every surfer, whether in Hawaii or beach towns across the world, needs to be educated on ocean safety, because it's not a matter of if, but when.
American Surf Magazine was invited to the special screening in Honolulu. Here are the 3 things we learned from the film, and 3 reasons why you should see it too.
1) The Importance of Ocean Safety Education
When a surfer is knocked unconscious, you only have about 4-6 minutes before they run out of oxygen, so you have to act fast.
A haunting but true statistic, in the event of a surfing accident, bystanders need to act fast.
There are more waves than lifeguards. Because of this, every surfer — groms, aunties and uncles, competitive surfers, and weekend warriors alike — needs to be educated on, at the very least, ocean safety basics like CPR.
This can prevent injuries, near-drownings and, as the film explains, a surfer paying the ultimate price: death.
2) The Fascinating History of Ocean Safety
Did you know that ocean safety pioneers like Brian Keaulana were fined by the State of Hawaii for using jet skis to save surfers in harrowing conditions?
Did you know that the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group initially started from an increase in near-drownings and drownings happening as big wave surfers pushed their limits?
It's all true.
You can learn fascinating historial tidbits like these and more in Big Wave Guardians.
3) Stories of Survival
Mikey Redd, Kohl Christiansen, Kalani Chapman, Hayden Rogers, and more....in the film, you can watch their harrowing rescues, and hear how today's ocean safety procedures saved their lives.