Big Wave Surfing Ocean Safety Program

March 31, 2017 - International

Professional big wave surfer, Eric Akiskalian is leading a new global water patrol and safety program to help ensure that big wave surfers are safer in the future.

With Green Collar Technologies support, Eric’s safety crews will be running water safety during the big wave seasons at well recognized big wave locations throughout the world. This program will also assist in providing safety equipment to other safety crews that are in need of support. Water rescues and assists during big swells are critical in today’s world of extreme big wave surfing.

Eric’s personal big wave surfing experience of 25 years, has lead him to create an ideal program for the sport. His water rescue expertise, international logistics and training provides the necessary components to mitigate the inherit dangers involved. His public speaking and global outreach capabilities make Eric an ideal facilitator. The primary goal is to allow surfers to more safely push the limits of big wave surfing around the world. With the assurance that there will be ample safety crews in the waters to assist with rescue and pick ups the level of surfing will continue to be pushed above all current levels. This is the evolution of our sport and all safety measures have to be in place.

“With more than 50 guys in the lineup during every big Mavericks swell and only 2-4 water safety personnel assisting, it is not possible to watch over everyone when things go wrong. We need to change this ratio so riders without their own safety team can surf safely.” – Eric Akiskalian,, Logistics/Safety – Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Finalist 2011

With the help from professional PWC safety drivers, spotters on shore and on the cliffs with advanced technologies,  Eric’s global team will increase the ratio of “safety personnel to riders” and reduce the odds of drowning at selected big wave locations during big swells.

“As surfers we understand the dangers. Surfers will continue to push the limits of riding giant waves but additional precautions are necessary to make the sport safe. We play a supporting role by partnering with others to ensure this program achieves it’s desired result to save lives.” – Brent Norris, Green Collar Technologies

Nazare, Portugal has been selected as the ultimate location for this program during the 2017/2018 big wave season from October thru February. Known for producing the largest waves in the world during the North Atlantic Hemisphere big wave season. Nazare holds the most challenging and heaviest beach break conditions making water safety very mentally and physically draining. More support is needed at this location and our goal is to make this happen. Internationally known big wave surfer, Garrett McNamara currently holds the Guinness World record for riding the biggest wave measured at 78’ in Nazare.

Green Collar Technologies, in addition will help set a new standard in big wave surfing safety at selected big wave surfing locations. Our intention is to increase our ability to serve big wave surfing venues around the world. 

Another GCT partner leading the effort is the IronMen of Surfing.

The IronMen of Surfing is an elite group of legendary surfers keenly focused on ocean safety and awareness. Their dedication to those in the pursuit of the art of big wave surfing is unparalleled. During their careers they have experienced more than their share of losses surfing big waves. Making the sport safer is a great way for us to honor their efforts to make the sport possible.

Some of these legendary surfers are already supporting ocean safety efforts at local beaches and we want to help. We want to further support their efforts to help children become aware of the safety issues and mitigating those issues. The hope is the next generation of big wave surfers will be safe as the sport continues to grow. Getting more people involved at the local level is a key step and has been the cornerstone of our sustainability efforts.

Green Collar Technologies will support local efforts with standardized, downloadable, easy to deploy, measurable programs. Local educators and subject matter experts will share these programs with local fire, lifeguard and public safety decision makers in their communities.

Program Summary >>

What Others Are Saying

“I have known Eric Akiskalian of for over 15 years and I have traveled to many global big wave destinations with him as well. Over the years, he has demonstrated his dedication, expertise, time and passion to promoting our sport and keeping surfers safe with assisting in water safety and rescue. As of recent, I have personally had him work with me in Nazare, Portugal and Mavericks, CA for water safety, assist and rescue for our crew. I trust his abilities and level of experience with my life in any situation that he is willing to put himself in. He’s very calculated and confident, but he also knows that mistakes and bad situations will happen to the best. He’s mentally and physically prepared for the worst case scenarios. He’s a great friend with a big heart and very easy to work with.” – Garrett McNamara / Current Guinness World Record Holder for Biggest Wave Surfed

“There’s a lot you can say about Eric Akiskalian and they are all amazing things! Eric is a dedicated adventurer, a knowledgable resource for anything and everything logistics and a true professional in the industry.We contracted Eric to provide logistical and coordinating support on our television production in Iceland in April, 2016. After we agreed, Eric got right to work and made our production go as smoothly as possible in the most unforgiving conditions. Not only were we successful on our shoot, Eric’s attitude and charisma kept morale high while he negotiated deals with international vendors to keep us on track and on budget. If you are in need of a gifted and connected individual to handle logistics anywhere in the world, Eric is the man you should call.” -PJ Lungren, Director/Producer, The Go Big Project / Red Chargers / Maverick Moments / LIFTOFF

“I’ve worked with Eric Akiskalian throughout the world, on a number occasions and in very heavy water situations, both paddling and towing. His knowledge and experience on water safety and driving the ski puts him at the top with the best. He’s definitely one of the few I could rely on when the situation gets gnarly in and out of the water.” – Andrew ‘Cotty’ Cotton / Professional Big Wave Surfer, UK
“Eric Akiskalian is one of those guys that’s a team player, always looking out for other people before himself. Very experienced with water safety and especially when shit hits the fan. I trust my life with him and we need more safety guys like him in the lineup. Eric always has good vibes, very positive energy and we kind of need that around when you’re dealing with giant days like the swells we’re chasing.” – Will Skudin / Professional Big Wave Surfer, USA

“I’ve known Eric Akiskalian for over a decade now and his dedication to Tow Surfing and PWC Water Safety is 2nd to none. I have used Eric and his services on many occasions chasing swells around the world. I trust him to come and get me when my life is on the line. I know he is constantly keeping his skills fine tuned and doing all the updated courses so he is on his game. Thank you Eric for keeping me safe over the years and looking forward to many more sessions to come. Cheers!” – Jamie Mitchell / Professional Big Wave Surfer, AUS

“The more you can learn from trained professionals, the safer our oceans will be. It was great to have Eric Akiskalian in our training program and share his expertise and knowledge” -Archie Kalepa / County of Maui, HI Ocean and Safety Water Patrol

“ I was stoked to find Eric Akiskalian online and learn that he offered a private tow-in training course. I hired him for private PWC training, ocean safety and tow-in’s for about 4 days. I wanted to learn as much as I could and absorb all the information he had to offer. His level of experience and knowledge was apparent and by the end of the course, I felt much more competent with my driving and pick ups in the beach break. I am not a big wave tow surfer but love to tow solid south swells in my area. This was the perfect training course for me as a beginner wanting to advance my skills and experience. I would highly recommend Eric, if you are looking for this type of training course.” Matt Hill / Oxnard, CA
“I met Eric Akiskalian soon after I became interested in shooting big wave surfing nearly 10 years ago. As a regular fixture in the water at Nelscott Reef, Eric tackles some of the biggest conditions the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Getting out to Nelscott Reef is a challenging affair and takes focus, skill, and knowledge. Eric, is one of the few people I trust to get me and my equipment out in The Zone quickly and safely. In 2010, I was lucky enough to be able to capture his Biggest Wave of the Year nomination for the XXL Big Wave Awards. In addition to Nelscott, I have been fortunate to have him drive me at some of the best big wave spots including Mavericks and Teahupo’o. It takes a team to take on big waves as well as document them. It is nice to know Eric is out there and on your team, especially when the swell and conditions are unpredictable.” – Richard Hallman / / Bend, OR

“When I come to Oregon or California it’s always good to know that Eric Akiskalian is available helping to coordinate safety and logistics for the swells. Eric is a dedicated water man that has the experience, passion and drive needed for success in big surf. He’s a good guy with a great attitude and worth having in your corner on those special days of waves.” – Trevor Sven Carlson / Professional Big Wave Surfer, Oahu, HI
“Eric Akiskalian is a Global Big Wave Adventure Surfer with multiple Billabong/WSL XXL Big Wave Award Entries and Nominations. Eric currently holds the record for riding the biggest wave ever surfed in the Pacific Northwest Region at 65′. He’s also the owner of and dedicated to promoting the responsible growth of big wave surfing and water safety. His commitment and dedication to the sport has made him one of the most respected surfers, promoters and leaders of our time.”- Brent Brent Norris ED / Green Collar Technologies, University of Hawaii at Hilo Innovation Center


Green Collar Technologies supports your local efforts. Learn how you can get involved.