Wrightsville Beach residents and viewers around the country are now able to take a peek inside the backbone of local lifeguarding and what it means to attain the title of member of the Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue squad with the recent release of “Ocean Rescue – Making the Squad” on Amazon Prime Video.
The documentary was filmed last year during the weeks leading up to and throughout the rigorous tryouts that take place before each summer season and was released in July of this year.
It demonstrates the process of what is takes to become a Wrightsville Beach lifeguard as it follows the journey of six different candidates as they train for and endure tryouts.
The documentary features a returning lifeguard, Philip Davis, and rookie candidates including mother-son duo Calvin and Angela Daughtry and Kyra Demarte. Austin Stewart and Tanner Freeman are also featured rookie candidates but serve as members of the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department
“Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to make the squad. It’s something you should be proud of,” said Davis.
Tryouts for the squad are split between two days. Candidates must first swim a half-mile down the beach, and then complete a one-mile run. They must also perform a mock active rescue, where their victim is drowning but still conscious, and a mock passive rescue, where their victim is unconscious and must be brought up to the beach.
Returning guards are required to complete tryouts as well, and rookie candidates are able to take their places should they outperform them. The candidates in the documentary all thrive and struggle in different areas, but each of them exudes determination and drive for making the squad.
Described as being raised by Wrightsville Beach, Philip Davis logically saw his next step in life as being a member of the lifeguarding team. Before the making of the documentary, Davis had served as a lifeguard and left the squad, but came back for tryouts this time with a new determination and appreciation for the team.
“The Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue Squad is about a lot more than getting a good tan. It has taught me a lot of about teamwork, and it is the best and most rewarding job ever. It is one job you will never forget,” said Davis.
Throughout the film, the lifeguarding squad is constantly described as a family and a special community that is unique to Wrightsville Beach.
Charlie Ball, the documentary’s director, is a former lifeguard and is able to project that experience through the making of the documentary. Though the film is only a peek into the lives and members of this community, a special bond can be seen among these people.
The team had a viewing party for the documentary on August 5th at Waterman’s Brewing, but the 68-minute film can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video and provides a view into a new appreciation for those protecting our lives every day we step foot out onto the beach.