Patagonia’s latest short film, Connected by Water, is about the crucial importance of ocean safety, especially in big surf, and the movement aiming to make those skills accessible to all.


Australians are water babies – we love the ocean. And when we’re not in the ocean, you’ll find us doing laps in a pool, floating down a river, or swinging rope into a dam. That means water safety is a crucial set of skills every Aussie needs to have. 

Big Wave Rider Assessment Group (BWRAG) may be a US based initiative, but it has major relevance to Australians, especially those of us that chase the thrill of dropping in on a stonking big wave. 

As Patagonia reveal in their latest short film Connected by Water | The Story Behind the Big Wave Safety Movement, even professional big wave surfers, with all the backup staff and surfing skills available to them, can fall powerless to the ferocity of the ocean. 



BWRAG has evolved from a group of pro-surfers learning CPR in a backyard shed, to a worldwide movement that’s become the international gold standard for ocean safety and risk management. 

Aussie surfer Dan Ross is stoked to be involved in BWRAG.

‘The growing focus on ocean safety and risk management is so important because it teaches us all to be more aware and to look out for each other. We often surf with family or close friends so an understanding of proper risk management and lifesaving techniques creates a skill set that could be life-changing,’ said Dan. 

‘It’s also uplifting to see the enthusiasm of young boys and girls involved in these courses. The skills taught can be applied in any area of life, not just when you’re in the ocean,’ he said. 

As part of a BWRAG’s string of international summits, a course was held in Torquay, Victoria in 2019. COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented the team of surfers and instructors from teaching the course abroad, so instead, BWRAG will launch online in January, meaning the course will be available to Aussies once again! 

Watch the film of the origin story of BWRAG and sign up for the water safety online course


Feature photo by Jarrah Lynch