Introduction: Coastal locations contribute significantly to global drowning, with surfers frequently conducting rescues. This study explored the characteristics of surfers as bystander rescuers in Europe.
Methods: A cross–sectional online survey collected demographics (age, sex, geographical location), surfing experience, ability, lifesaving and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, information seeking behaviors and previous performance of a rescue. Analyses comprised descriptive frequencies, binomial logistic regression with adjusted odds ratio (AOR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) and chi–squares (p < .05).
Results: Europe–dwelling respondents totaled 1705 (76% male; 43% 25–34 years). Thirty–nine percent (39.2%; n = 668) had previously performed a rescue. Likelihood of having conducted a rescue significantly increased with 6 or more years of surfing experience (6–10 years [AOR = 1.96; 95%CI: 1.20–3.22]; 11–15 years [AOR = 3.26; 95%CI: 1.56–6.79]; 16 years or more [AOR = 4.27; 95%CI: 2.00–9.11]) when compared to surfers with <1 year experience. Expert/professional ability surfers were 10.89 times (95%CI: 4.72–25.15) more likely to have conducted a rescue than novice/beginners. Respondents who had received both a certified lifeguard and CPR course were significantly more likely to have conducted a rescue (AOR = 3.34; 95%CI: 2.43–4.60).
Conclusion: Surfers who had previously conducted rescues commonly had more years of experience, higher self–rated surf ability and greater likelihood of having received certified training. However, not all surfers who have performed rescues had received training. Findings suggest surfers should receive rescue and CPR training before they start surfing at locations without trained supervision and refresh training regularly. Surfers are amenable to injury prevention information, especially online and via a