Rescue operation to save Jersey surfers in trouble

Jersey Coastguard and Jersey Fire and Rescue Service were called to help several surfers in trouble at St Ouen's Bay this morning (20 February).

They all managed to get themselves back to shore but two were taken to hospital, one suffering from shock, the other with shock and hypothermia.

JFRS want to highlight the risk associated with undertaking sea based activities in difficult conditions.

The surf conditions have been good recently, however all conditions must be considered before undertaking any activity on the sea such as the wind direction and strength, tide strength and direction, possibly unseen rip tides and cold water. A number of the surfers involved in this incident were experienced but got caught out highlighting the potential dangers for anyone entering the water.

Mark Bailey-Walker, JFRS Station Commander

It comes on the day surf schools in the islands say they have seen a large increase in the number of people taking up the sport since the first lockdown.

With the good weather and the surf the numbers in the water that we were monitoring was a 60% increase during the first lockdown. Many people were digging out their old boards from the shed.

David Ferguson, Channel Islands Surfing Federation

There is a warning, though, that this time of year is not a good time to start surfing as the tides and winds are strong and potentially dangerous.

We would recommend that you join a surf school when it gets warmer and learn correctly how to be in the water. Membership to a surf club also means that you will get insurance cover if anything goes wrong.

Tim Gaudion. President, Guernsey Surf Club