Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is calling on Hollywood heavyweight Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”) to talk to Kiwi men about beach safety.
The cry for help comes as figures reveal an alarming 89% of beach and coastal drowning victims in Aotearoa/New Zealand over the last 10 years were male.
SLSNZ Chief Executive, Paul Dalton, says the problem appears to be getting worse.
“A third of all drownings in Aotearoa occur at the beach and, what’s more, the number of beach drownings has actually increased by 37% over the past five years. The tragedy of the situation is that these drownings are preventable.”
He says SLSNZ’s Volunteer Surf Lifeguards believe it’s time for an intervention of “mammoth” proportions. In an effort to share and reinforce vital beach safety messaging, Dalton says the organisation is reaching out to The Rock via social media – and they’re asking Kiwis to help.
“We’re essentially asking Kiwis to help us get through to The Rock on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in an effort to grab his attention and convince him to talk to our nation’s males,” he says.
“It’s a bit of fun, but it’s also a really serious issue. We’re hoping this will serve as a springboard for New Zealanders to start thinking and talking about beach safety as we head into summer.”
Why The Rock?
“We need someone with mana who transcends age, ethnic and gender demographics to talk to our males. The Rock’s popularity and influence transcends these groups. He’s of Samoan heritage and has lived in New Zealand…and he starred in the Baywatch remake, so there’s already some association between him and Surf Lifesaving.”
Hollywood blockbuster Baywatch poster (Poster: Forbes.com)
Dalton says the charity is gearing up for what’s likely to be the busiest surf lifeguarding season on record as Kiwis head to the beach for COVID-19 imposed “staycations”.
“Our Surf Lifeguards are worried more Kiwis will lose their fathers, sons, husbands and mates to preventable drownings this summer. COVID-19 border closures mean many people will be heading to the beach instead of on overseas holidays and we’re anticipating our busiest Surf Lifeguarding season on record this year.”
Key SLSNZ Beach Safety Messages:
- Know your limits: Underestimating the conditions & overestimating your ability equals disaster. Our Kiwi "she'll be right" attitude is getting us in trouble.
- Swim, surf & fish with a mate: It pays to have backup if you, your friends or family get into trouble. Don't go alone.
- When rock fishing: Wear a lifejacket, shoes with grip (no gumboots!), and don’t turn your back to the sea.
How Kiwis Can Get Involved:
- Share Surf Life Saving NZ posts (Facebook: @surflifesaving | Instagram: @SLSNZ | Twitter: @SLSNZ. Include the hashtag #SaveTheMales and tag @TheRock
- Upload your own messages asking The Rock to talk to our men and #SavetheMales. Be sure to tag SLSNZ so that your post is connected to the campaign
For full details, visit the SLSNZ website: https://www.surflifesaving.org.nz/stay-safe/savethemales