Youth participating in the Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguard Program this summer will hit the ocean with surf rescue gear from Down Under.
A group of Australian lifeguard groups, spearheaded by the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club in Queensland, donated an array of equipment including surf skis and various boards to help the Malibu lifeguard organization replace all the paraphilia it lost in last November’s Woolsey Fire.
Tim Harvey, the junior lifeguard program’s coordinator, said they received more equipment from the Australians than expected.
“We got all kinds of stuff that is really going to help our program,” he said.
The trappings were shipped from Australia sometime after Harvey and a group of Leo Carrillo junior lifeguards went to Queensland and trained with the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club’s youth lifeguards.
After arriving at the Port at Long Beach, the materials arrived at Leo Carrillo State Park on May 15. Harvey, junior lifeguards and their parents loaded the equipment into a pair of containers.
Harvey said the burgeoning lifeguards recognized a lot of the boards from their Australia trip.
“The kids were flabbergasted,” he said. “It was really great.”
The program received eight surf skis, 12 race paddleboards and 20 nipper boards. Harvey said they also got five rescue boards, which the youth program never had before.
“That is amazing,” he said. “They are used more in Australia, but they are very effective for professional lifesaving.”
Harvey and the junior lifeguard program’s participants are extremely thankful for the furnishings.
“It’s a sign that the lifesaving communities know that it’s great to look after one another,” Harvey noted. “The humanity in all of this really affected the kids.”
The youth initiative will run July 1 to Aug. 2. There will be a camp Aug. 5 to Aug. 9.
Harvey said the 35-year-old program will be just as good as past summers.
“We got the kids. We got the surf,” he said. “The beach is a little bit smaller, but we have the beach. With this kind of injection equipment, we should be fine. I look forward to it.”