[Ride a Wave - Creating Special Days for Kids With Special Needs]
  Volunteer  -  Body Boarding Guidelines

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It is important that you read and understand ALL the information on this page AND the Introduction to Volunteering page before committing yourself as a Ride a Wave volunteer.

Contact:  Bodyboard Coordinator
Role:   A Body Board Guide ensures that each child has the safest and most fun experience possible when body boarding. 

The following attributes are required to be a Body Board Guide:

  • Commitment - Above all other things, the body board guide must be committed to a fun and safe outing. Body boarding experience is a plus, but not absolutely necessary. Desire to be there and help out is more important. The rewards of being a body board guides are huge: pages full of huge, drippy grins and gobs of wet hugs to fill their book of memories.
  • Patience - There will be periods of down time when the lulls seem to last forever. The guide needs to demonstrate patience with their charges during these times. The participant may become restless and fidgety.
  • Spontaneity and Resourcefulness - The guides will need to demonstrate spontaneity during these lulls to ensure that the participant stays entertained. A resourceful guide will provide imaginative alternatives of fun, i.e. water fights, tag, and interpersonal bonding during the day to maintain a level of fun. Be creative and use common sense.
  • Compassion - Without this, the guides wouldn't even be there. Enough said.
  • Ocean Awareness - BB guides will need and demonstrate a working understanding of shore pound dynamics. Currents, rips, wave sets, sand bars and water temperature effects all need to be studied and understood. Even a one-foot wave can send an unsuspecting guide and participant tumbling under water. The experience of trying to support another person in an unstable water area is akin to wrestling with a drunk.
  • Strength and Stamina - Big swell days are physically demanding. The wrestling analogy above is an indication of the physical challenge. A little cross training to build stamina will go a long way in giving all guides an edge.
  • Technique and Safety - The weekend training days will be used to demonstrate and train all BB guides in the proper technique of assisting the participants in catching and riding waves using a bodyboard. The method created by John Park, one of the BB coordinators, will be used exclusively. John's method ensures body closeness and security during crucial stages of the wave's actions, resulting in a combination of wave riding enjoyment and safety.
  • Timing - Knowledge of when the wave will break and when to push or not to push the participant into the wave is a must. Much of this comes from experience and repetition.
  • Teamwork - The BB guides must work well within a team dynamic, yet implement spontaneity. Flexibility within the unit is a must. If conditions warrant the change of participants due to inappropriate physical match ups, personality conflicts or injury, the BB guides must be able to facilitate change.
  • Communication - Constant eye contact with participants and other BB teams is needed to maintain safety levels. The BB coordinator will be in visual contact all times for added support. All BB guides must have a working knowledge of the RAW hand signals.
  • The Fun Equation - This could be #1. Remember our mission statement. The BB guides must think of themselves as a variable in the participant's fun equation. The BB guide can be the one factor that determines the participant's enjoyment for the day. Be safe and HAVE FUN.
What to expect as a Body Board Guide: 
  • Big waves mean a physically demanding day and frayed nerves
  • Small waves mean unexpected power and a surprise rinsing
  • No waves mean lulls, boredom, fussing and fidgeting
  • Hesitant guests mean psych games
  • Avid guests mean extended water time
  • Gagging on Cowell water
  • Kicks to the groin
  • Knowledge that you have made a difference.
  • Tons of wet hugs, loads of dripping smiles and uninhibited laughter.
  • Satisfaction in receiving the guests' unconditional trust in the morning.... and still having it at the end of the day!
  • Being totally wiped out at the end of the day and still sporting a huge grin on your face.
  • Going to sleep at night with the sound of your guests' laughter still ringing in your ears.
  • Realizing that this could be the greatest thing you have ever done.

REMEMBER - THERE IS NOTHING STRONGER THAN THE HEART OF A VOLUNTEER.

Safety Policy for Body Board Guides

The following guidelines are for the safety of our guests and for RAW members. Remember to always use your common sense to ensure that everybody has a safe and wonderful day at the beach.

  1. The bodyboard demonstration area will be set up directly in front of the RAW tent bordered by the tandem surfing area to the west and the kayaking area to the east. Visible boundary markers will be set in position on the sand, supplemented by a RAW guide on a surfboard in the water outside the BB area. Their task is to keep all bodyboards inside the designated BB area and all other activities out.
  2. All participants must have on: 

      a. a wetsuit 
      b. a life vest 
      c. a helmet 

    All three of these articles must be worn to be eligible for the activity.
  3. BB participants are encouraged to paddle and kick if they are able.
  4. Procedures for the day's event are as follows:

    a. The BB coordinator will review and advise all guides as to the day's wave conditions and any other variables.

    b. The BB coordinator will designate guides to supervise the east a nd west boundaries and 1 guide to patrol on a surfboard acting as lookout for incoming wave sets and unusual conditions.

    c. If there are enough guides to facilitate 2 guides per guest, one guide will enter the water with the guest while the other guide stays ashore acting in support.

    d. Water guides assist the guest in catching waves while the ashore guide assists guest in regaining their feet and retrieving the board after the wave has broken.

    e. Each guide will be in constant visual contact with BB coordinator and be able to relay any need or status at that time.

    f. BB guides need to be alert to lookout warnings of incoming waves and unusual conditions and be able to pass on all communications to other BB guides.

    g. BB guides must keep guests in designated BB areas only. If guest wants to expand the limits, notify the BB coordinator or other guides immediately

    h. BB guides will be advised of any and all special needs of their guests. If guide is uncomfortable with their guest, the guide needs to notify the coordinator and request a change. This should be done with discretion.
  5. Wipeouts happen to the best of us. The "John Park Method" works well in eliminating most wipeouts. When they do occur there is a chance of a spinal injury to the guest. The BB guide needs to remain calm and implement the first steps of life saving. Get the guests face out of the water and stabilize them. These techniques will be gone over during training. It's important that remaining guides secure their guests and remove them from the emergency area. Use common sense and your own discretion in doing so. Wait for the "all clear" signal prior to returning to the day's activities.
  6. All guides need to be aware of sun damage and water dehydration. The coordinator will check all guides throughout the day for these precautions.
  7. All guides should wear booties for foot protection while in the water. 

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