Education at Garie Weekend

~ Craig Howie

 

The weekend of 22-23 March, a group of 9 instructors and bronzies (both seasoned and brand new) headed to Garie Beach for a weekend of patrol, Spinal education, no reception and "glamping". 

 

On the way there, a part of our convoy stopped to assist in the retrieval of a badly injured cyclist who'd taken a corner too wide and ended up in Audley Weir. He got extracted from the Weir on a spinal board with a nose very much the worse for wear. What a start to the weekend! 

 

Finally arriving at the clubhouse, we unloaded our gourmet provisions and shifted the patrol trailer & IRB to the beach with the help of the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle). After setting up patrol, ATV induction was given by "Gravy" to those who wished and the rest got busy patrolling on long, quiet and mostly uneventful sands. 

 

Spinal education started during the day as Beck Mister & Craig Howie showed us techniques to identify, manage and contain potential neck & back injury. With lots of time and only a few beach goers to deal with, we had plenty of time for collars, straps and boards to hone our newly acquired skills. The remainder of patrol was filled with board paddling, surfing, swimming and practising in the IRB. As there was an afternoon storm looming we prepared to move the non-essentials to the clubhouse. 

 

After patrol we fired up the BBQ, did some spinal theory and kicked back to watch the forecast storm roll in bringing with it "A Double Rainbow all the way across the sky". 

We fired up the BBQ for dinner and were joined by Pete the Possum. Relaxing to Craig's ukulele minstrelling, couch-slouchin' and some crazy card action was a perfect way to cap off Saturday. 

 

SUNDAY

Sunday brought us sunshine, 3-4 foot waves, BBQ brekkie and more scenarios than you could poke a spinal board at. The larger surf made it quite fun in the IRB or on our boards. A board, a tube and the IRB were used as water safety when the last of the bronze group from Burning Palms completed the RSR and board rescues in about 2ft surf and crystal clear water. Luckily, nothing went wrong as water-safety would have needed to flip a coin to work out who'd assist the lone swimmer. We are fortunate at Coogee to have such large numbers to train with and many instructors & water safety volunteering. 

 

After lunch Gravy conducted the Spinal assessments and pulled out all stops with some challenging water scenarios to test awareness, response and technique. Thanks to their thorough training and teamwork the 'students' rose to the occasion and could not be put off their game even by a screaming patient (who may have been giving paypback for mercilessly tickling him while strapped to the spinal board earlier). 

 

A weekend at Garie is definitely something you don't do just once: remote, clear water, quiet & nice surf only 1hr away from Coogee. 

 

For a video summary of the weekend, visit http://vimeo.com/89901946

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