Big Wave Risk Assessment Group holds first East Coast Surf Responders Summit on Outer Banks

Big Wave Risk Assessment Group holds first East Coast Surf Responders Summit on Outer Banks

April 5th, 2023

The Big Wave Risk Assessment Group (BWRAG) will kick off its 2023 Surf Responder Summit schedule in Nags Head on April 22-23, 2023. This will be the first-ever BWRAG Surf Responder Summit held on the East Coast of the United States. 

BWRAG was founded in 2011 in honor of the late Sion Milosky who lost his life while surfing Mavericks. After Milosky’s death, big-wave surfers Danilo Couto, Kohl Christensen, Mark Healey and others sought ways to better train and unite the big-wave surfing community to prevent future tragedies.

The first BWRAG training was held in a barn on Christensen’s property on the North Shore of Oʻahu. Since then, BWRAG summits have evolved into multi-day seminars held in regions such as California, Puerto Rico, Australia, Chile, Peru, Portugal, Ireland, Maui, and more.

The summits invite both male and female surfers from around the world to refine their safety knowledge, learn CPR, and basic life-saving medical interventions, conduct in-water training, and discuss issues affecting safety in the ocean arena.

The North Carolina Summit will be led by BWRAG Chief Master Instructor and MRV Risk Technician Specialist Pat Chong Tim, BWRAG Master Instructor and thirty-year emergency room nurse veteran Pamela Foster, BWRAG Master Instructor and MRV Risk Technician Specialist Vance Keaka Lime, BWRAG Instructor and Puerto Rico Big-Wave Charger Greg Carson, Owner / Founder of Waterman Survival and Breath-Hold Specialist Joe Sheridan, and others.

The North Carolina Summit will be hosted by Outer Banks big wave surfer and BWRAG Summit Alumnae Bri Young and her surf company Outer Surf.

Outer Surf is a boutique surf shop and surf school specializing in women and girls surf camps, lessons, and retreats. Bri Young is looking forward to bringing BWRAG to North Carolina.

“This is a great opportunity for Outer Banks locals and visiting surfers to come together and learn surf safety and rescue techniques in a professional setting with world class instructors and surfers,” Young said. 

The North Carolina Summit is also supported by Outer Banks Forever, Patagonia, YETI, Sea-Doo, Dakine, and REAL Watersports.

“We’re incredibly excited about the upcoming BWRAG Summit and what it means for our area,” said REAL Watersports Owner and Outer Banks Forever President, Trip Forman.

“Our local lifesaving programs have improved dramatically over the past several years. Their dedication and passion is second to none. We could never ask more from them,” Forman said. “What we need is more coverage spread across the miles of unguarded beaches here on the Outer Banks.”

“Training 60+ surfers, kiters and foilers to assist with water rescue and on land plan activation will be a huge addition to our water-based community,” Forman said. “We’ll be supporting and participating with everything we’ve got.” 

The North Carolina Summit will include both classroom and in-water training. The Summit will be held at the headquarters of local surf school and community gathering place Outer Surf located in Nags Head.

The two-day training will cover topics in ocean safety and surf preparedness including Ocean Risk Management, CPR, First-Aid & Medical Interventions, Spot Analysis, Emergency Action Planning, Mindful Breathing & Energy Management, Safety Equipment, and Water Rescue.

Participation in the North Carolina Summit qualifies attendees to purchase the Patagonia PSI inflation vest. A Certificate of Completion is issued to each attendee who completes the Summit and can be presented to Patagonia to purchase the vest. Attendees will also receive a CPR Course Completion Card issued by American Safety and Health Institute. 

BWRAG will hold a Talk Story panel discussion, free and open to the public, on the eve of the North Carolina Summit on April 21, 2023 at Swells’a Brewing in Kill Devil Hills. The Talk Story will feature both BWRAG Instructors and local big-wave chargers and ocean safety professionals and will focus on the topics of surf safety in the Outer Banks and beyond. 

North Carolina was originally slated to be on BWRAG’s 2020 summit schedule until operations were shut down in March 2020 by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

With the pandemic seemingly subsided, BWRAG’s top priority in 2023 is to resume its plan to expand its training to the East Coast.

“We are stoked that our world-renowned surf safety educational summits will be held on the East Coast for the first-time ever,” said BWRAG Chief Master Instructor and world-renowned Hawaiian waterman Brian Keaulana.

“This has been a long-time coming and it continues to fulfill our mission of training all surfers and ocean athletes on the globe to become Surf Responders and assets in emergency situations,” Keaulana said. “North Carolina will be the first of many BWRAG Summits held on the East Coast in the upcoming years.”

Registration for the 2023 North Carolina Summit is now open. For more information about the 2023 North Carolina Summit, including how to register, visit Stay up to date on upcoming BWRAG training opportunities and new safety product releases by visiting and by following BWRAG on Instagram (@b.w.r.a.g) and Facebook.

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