Surf Lifesaving del Sur was created to address the total lack of lifeguards and ocean lifesaving services (neither volunteer or professional), and the abhorrent drowning rates that both Jimmy and Laine encountered during years of traveling and surfing throughout the Baja peninsula and mainland Mexico. The duo both began their Mexico travels independently in 1979, and together after they met when they were stationed at Wind & Sea Beach and La Jolla Cove with in 1985.
They performed (too) many rescues on their vacations in Mexico, which was frankly dangerous without the proper equipment (minimum of swim fins and rescue tube or buoy), and opened them up to the liability of injuring themselves and/or the victim – and even potential criminal charges had someone drowned during a rescue attempt. Furthermore, as professional lifeguards we consider any preventable drowning to be unconscionable, and were determined for years to start some form of lifeguard training program.
They initially made a contact through the US/Mexico Consular agent in San Diego, but after lengthy attempts at making inroads and drafting proposals over the period of a couple years, they got nowhere. They finally made contact with an ex-patriot, John Hughes, a retired Long Beach lifeguard who began a learn-to-swim program for the Cabo San Lucas Fire Department and established a healthy working relationship with their Fire Chief - Juan Carbajal. With an invitation, Surf Lifesaving del Sur was able to instruct its first Lifeguard Academy in Sept. 2004, to a core group of firefighters.
It became immediately obvious that there was zero funding or equipment other than what we provided, and during the next several academies we collected as much used equipment from agencies in Southern California for donation, and came out of pocket for the necessary equipment that we could not salvage from the states. This made a source of funding a priority, hence we formed our non-profit in 2007 – we have no salaried executives or instructors, we are all volunteers with 100% of donations going to equipment, training materials (we produced our own lifesaving manual in Spanish/English which each student receives upon enrollment), and logistics.