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Why SUP Becomes Lifeguards' Best Friend

Why SUP Becomes Lifeguards' Best Friend

OutdoorMaster had the pleasure to work with Kyle Silligman (IG_@theartofkylesilligman), artist and illustrator from Tracy, Ca., who is also a volunteer Lifeguard at GYC Aquatics, the Greater Yosemite Council of the Boy Scouts of America. A small team consists of a couple of year-round trainers who all volunteer to help with year-round Aquatics.

Kyle applied the Chasing Blue Ocean Spirit SUP board for their summer training in Livingston, CA. Let’s hear Kyle’s real-life experience and opinion on how SUP can greatly leverage the rescuing approach for Lifeguards.



Having been a Lifeguard/ Lifeguard instructor, I have used this equipment countless times and know the value of having the right gear. Especially when we approached this spring, a lot of our efforts are focused on training lifeguards to go back to their local scouting units, and that's where most of our equipment is used in training. 

The Aquatics Committee is always looking for new ways to train and educate scouts and leaders on aquatic safety, and the proper gear is vital to the success of this goal. having just finished up one lifeguarding course, right now our efforts are focused on teaching paddle craft techniques in Canoes and Kayaks, on both river and lakefront environments. Anytime you're around open water while lifeguarding, a paddleboard becomes your best friend.


Lifeguards have countless tools at their disposal when it comes to performing a rescue. One of the best tools for open water and large pools is the Stand-Up Paddleboard. With the right technique and equipment, there is no limit to the people you can save with this equipment. 

The technique to use a SUP for rescues is very relaxed as there are various ways to perform a rescue, depending on the state of the victim. If they are completely conscious, you can have them hold onto aside and swim, allowing for the board to remain as a barrier between you and the victim. If they are too tired to swim, they can be placed on the board. 

The best maneuver is suitable for unconscious victims. That requires flipping the board in order to force it under the victim. Thanks to the generous size and weight capacity of a SUP, the Lifeguard can actually climb on the board with the victim in order to control them and paddle back to safety.


Accidents happen at all depths and distances in the water. SUP eliminated the need to exert all your energy before making it to the victim. Easy paddling allows you to conserve energy that is better spent helping others. In addition, SUP provides the ability to lifeguard in the middle of the water. Having guarded in deep lakes, this is a must-have for placing guards in zones and reaching victims in time. 


Thank you to OutdoorMaster for sending us one of the Chasing Blue SUP board to try out. The grip, the handles, and portable capabilities make it a must-have for all open water events and training.