Lifeguards feel the heat as crowds hit the beach

Llandudno Beach was packed at the weekend.

The year got off to a busy start for the Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club when temperatures in the high 30s drove waves of people to the beach last weekend.

Thousands flocked to the beach, and, as early as 9am, lifeguards attended to the first of 48 rescues on the day, pulling a man out of the water after he was caught in a rip tide.

“The beach was the busiest it has ever been,” said Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club chairman Wayne Grieveson.

Lifeguard flags had to be moved frequently because of unpredictable rip tides that were constantly switching, he said.

Pro lifeguards and voluntary squads reported for duty, with the pros pulling the early shift and racking up 20 rescues and the voluntary squad later doing 28.

“Two lifeguards stayed on duty until 8pm given how busy the beach was, and we managed approximately 48 rescues in total, of which some were mass rescues which means three to five people being rescued at once,“ Mr Grieveson said.

A few injuries were reported, with the worst being a dislocated shoulder and a child with a badly lacerated hand.

Beachgoers told the Sentinel it was reassuring to see the lifeguards on duty.

“The water was full, the beach was full, the parking was full and lifeguards had to be on high alert at every minute of the day,” said Edward Parks, of Hout Bay. “One slip and it was easy for somebody to go missing or even drown, but thankfully, they did a really amazing job.”

Mother of three, Sharon Patel, was on the beach from 7am and said it had still been bearable then, but by 9am the beach had started to fill up quickly.

“It was a real challenge for the lifeguards, who put on a brave face and tackled the challenges with ease,” she said. “They handled the situation really well.”

Mr Grieveson urged beachgoers to listen to what the lifeguards said and obey their instructions on where to swim.

“To date, and with thanks to the lifeguards, Llandudno has a clear record of zero active drownings whilst lifeguards are on duty,” he said.