The Red Bulletin Podcast: Big Wave Rescue

Words: Andreas Tzortzis Photography: Clark Fyans/Red Bull Content Pool

As the big wave stakes get higher, a small group of surfers is striving to keep everyone safe. On this podcast, we look at the history of safety and rescues in the water. 

It’s hard to imagine in this day and age of bazillion dollar homes, but in the early part of the 20th century, no one in California really wanted to live near the beach. There was no swimming (without drowning), no bronzing, no beach culture to speak of, until the arrival in 1908 of an Irish-Hawaiian who’d impressed the fist-fighting, badass adventure author Jack London with his surfing. 

Though he never “walked on water” as some claimed, George Freeth taught people how to swim, founded the first lifeguarding crews, and developed the torpedo buoy still in use today. His legacy lives on, though the gear and approach have gotten more sophisticated. Previewing next week’s podcast interview with big wave surfer Ian Walsh, we look at the history of safety—from leashes to Co2-powered wetsuits—in a sport with the highest stakes. 

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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