Nova Scotia's beach lifeguards will tap into international expertise this summer.
The Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service is hiring lifeguards with experience at surfing beaches in South Africa and Australia.
Paul D'Eon, the director of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service, says with the rising popularity of surfing, beach lifeguards are venturing out more frequently into rougher waters.
“We've got our hands full in the last couple of years at these surf beaches, and these guys are going to … help us,” he said.
D'Eon says there will be three guards this year with a lot of experience with surfers and big waves.
Two guards are Australians who have worked on Australia’s Gold Coast, one of the most popular surfing spots in the world.
He says Lawrencetown Beach can offer similar conditions to Australia's east coast, but with a much smaller population of surfers.
“They call the Gold Coast, where [two] of the guys are from, they call it ‘death alley.’ They have eight or 10 drownings there every year. … Other than the little bit colder water, [they’re] going to face similar types of surf, and currents, and that kind of thing. We’ve got the same problems with less experience,” said D’Eon.
The third life guard is from Durban, South Africa, where the surf can be very rough.
He says these guards come with a unique set of skills.
“Paddling rescue boards through the surf, just amazing to watch them being able to duck under the waves, knowing how to read the surf and make rescues in the surf. They're just world class at it,” he said.
D'Eon says his goal is to train the next generation of Nova Scotia lifeguards to protect surfers who are new to the sport.
Surf rescue training sessions will take place over the next few weeks beginning in lakes, where the water is a little warmer.
Lifeguards are on duty at Nova Scotia beaches starting June 27.