JoPro / Charger: The Best Office in the World
My passion for paddling and the ocean exponentially grew when I became a beach lifeguard five years ago here in my hometown of Coronado, California. My job as a lifeguard has defined me over these years and I wouldn’t choose any other office over the beach.
Lifeguarding is an extremely rewarding profession, as you go home many nights knowing that you saved someone’s life. It is a pretty incredible feeling, and makes me remember the significance of this job position. Lifeguarding has become a perfect way to apply all my years of swimming and maintaining a high level of fitness. On a rescue, the physical training is extremely important as you are giving everything you have to get to your victim. This includes high standards in running, swimming, and paddling. We are encouraged to workout during our breaks each shift, and I always take advantage of this time.
Lifeguarding is more than just fitness though, and I have had to learn skills in communication, first aid, and rescue recognition. Most of our rescues occur because of large surf and the formation of rip currents which will suck someone right out to sea. Most people who are visiting are uneducated about rip currents and thus try to swim directly against the rip which is difficult even for the best swimmers. The swimmer tends to panic as they are not gaining any progress toward shore, and this is where our job comes in. We have to be able to spot these occurrences when someone is in trouble, and then are able to use our physical skills to make an actual rescue. Teamwork and communication are also vital to the job as the lifeguards at my beach work as one unit, and we always have each others’ backs. The Coronado Beach Lifeguard Agency is like a family as we have built relationships through the hours we spend at the beach together and the calls that come down to life or death.
Lifeguarding has also brought many opportunities for me as an athlete. Lifeguards are able to compete in competitions here in California and throughout the world against other lifeguards and lifesavers. We compete in skills we utilize in our job such as swimming, running, paddling, and rescue simulations with a tube and board. Just a few weeks ago I was honored to travel to the Netherlands and represent United States Lifeguards in the World Lifesaving Championships. This was an incredible experience getting to meet people from all around the world who share similar passion in the ocean and helping others. Our team competed extremely well and several members made the podium.
I have the best job in the world! It really doesn’t get any better.
Of course I am always sporting my Jolyn Reds and all the girls on our beach are doing the same. Jolyn has been a proud supporter of lifeguards here in the United States and all over the world and makes the best suit to always be ready for anything.
Our lifeguards thank Jolyn!
Motivational Monday // Lindsey Gerkens
- What is your favorite dryland workout? (If you have a specific circuit, track, beach or Cross Fit workout you like, let us know so we can share):
I love weight training. A good barbell complex works both cardio and functional strength at once. One of my favorites is:
Deadlift, bent row, hang clean, pushpress, back squat
8 sets x 6 reps of each exercise consecutive, rest 60 secs between sets
-What is your favorite water work out (Masters polo practice, ocean swim, surf session, if you have a specific swim set you like, please share):
Bodysurfing the big angry blown-out washing machine waves you get when a hurricane is coming up the coast- with fins. It’s so much fun you don’t feel your legs burning!
- What activities do you do in JOLYN:
Work, train, and play: swimming, surfing, paddling, ocean rescue lifeguarding, surfskiing, bodysurfing
- What's your favorite JOLYN color:
It’s a toss up between Mango and Army green
- What's your favorite JOLYN style and why:
Softy bottoms! Super flattering, comfortable, and they stay on no matter what.
- If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be:
A pole spear, vegetable seeds, and my dog Maka
- What's your favorite beach that you have been to and what beach is on your list to go to:
Rainbow Bay in Australia near where I went to college is absolute paradise. Someday I’d love to go to the North Shore of Hawaii and see Pipe when it’s firing.
- Who is your favorite athlete:
Jolyn Rep and Surf Lifesaving guru Jen Noonan is a huge inspiration to me. She is all heart and gives so much to support surf lifesaving in the United States and all the other lifeguards that compete- not to mention being an incredible competitor that continues to dominate at the National level decade after decade.
- What are 3 things on your bucket list:
Visit the Mediterranean Greek Islands
Convince the United States Lifesaving Association to make the American Ironwoman event the same as the Ironman event (by adding the row leg) at the United States National Lifeguard Championships. They currently do not let women row in the race unlike the men because of ridiculous reasons like “it’s too dangerous” and “not very many women know how to row”. And then of course compete in the event!
- If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children:
Follow your heart
- What's the most inspiring race you've ever seen:
Over a decade ago, I was privileged to be one of the first women who raced in a full American Ironwoman (with a row!) in the Mayor’s Cup Lifeguard Tournament in New Jersey. For years the tournament had featured an Ironman race, but no Ironwoman race. They had said there wasn't enough interest in the race, they said not enough women knew how to row, they said the boats were too heavy for us, and that there wasn't enough time in the tournament- very similar to the reasons that the USLA is giving today for excluding the full Ironwoman race from the National Championships. However, we persevered and convinced them to add the Ironwoman to the local tournament. Despite their predictions, we had so many women determined to race that they had to expand the maximum number of competitors allowed in the race that year and every single woman finished the race and finished without injuries in 4-5ft surf. Watching the sunset light up the evening sky as we raced and seeing the other girls powering through the pain to prove our equality to the spectators on the beach and the men we work beside everyday was one of the most inspirational and uplifting moments of my eighteen-year lifeguarding career. We weren’t racing each other, we were racing against the race itself, and we all won. I am very proud to say that for the past twelve years female guards in New Jersey have been rowing in the full American Ironwoman at that tournament every summer.
- What book would you recommend to our readers:
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. We are all being pulled in so many directions by modern day life: work more hours, make more money, climb the ladder, be a good spouse, be a good parent, be a good friend, spend time with your parents, stay fit, eat healthy, give back to your community- there’s not enough time in a day to do it all. It helps me keep my priorities straight when I start to feel overwhelmed.
- What is something that nobody knows about you:
I used to tap dance and sing in my high school’s musical theater performances.
- What is your signature dish in the kitchen:
I make some mean oven-baked barbecue ribs. Topped off with a homegrown sweet potato and fresh kale from the garden sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Mmm mmm mmm.
- What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced:
Getting divorced. It’s like having the rug pulled out from underneath you, except the rug is your whole life. It shakes your faith in yourself and in others. Life has a way of knocking us all down from time to time. Getting up again is never easy, but finding the strength to stand up again after my divorce was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Some days my legs still feel a little wobbly.
- Any last words or testimonial:
Appreciate the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.