Summer is nearly coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere, which means kids going back to school, colder weather rolling in, and surf simulator on-season coming to a close (at least for outdoor venues). With the end of the season nearing, this is a great time for venue owners and operators to take inventory of their successes and losses.
Since flowboarding can be a daunting activity, it’s especially important that the lifeguard staff falls under the major success category. But lifeguarding on a FlowRider is quite different from lifeguarding at a pool, waterslide, or any other aquatic attraction. It requires much more guest interaction, which means your guards need a bit more help than the typical lifeguard training.
Here’s why great lifeguards make such a big difference to the guest experience and how venues can make sure all their lifeguards are exceptional:
1. They Create an Exciting Atmosphere
When your guests are on your surf simulator, the main person they will be interacting with is the lifeguard. Guests can tell when their lifeguard is absolutely stoked about your wave and when they are completely disengaged.
A stoked lifeguard will exude excitement from their introductory safety speech until the end of the session. They’ll cheer guests on as they ride, laugh with them when they wipeout, and encourage guests if they’re nervous.
They recognize that flowboarding is difficult to learn, but their excitement will show guests that flowboarding is so incredibly worth the learning curve.
On the other hand, a lifeguard who is not engaging with guests is missing out on a big opportunity for venues to improve their guest experience, create even more repeat riders, and add to their loyal fanbase.
How can you make sure your lifeguards build an exciting atmosphere?
- Make sure your lifeguards have ample free riding sessions on your surf simulator.
- Get your guards to practice their flowboarding skills together by hosting staff flowboarding nights after-hours (great for team building as well).
- To go above and beyond, host staff flowboarding competitions to encourage lifeguards to improve their skills and flowboard often.
After all, you can’t flowboard frequently without feeling the stoke!
2. They Build Up Guest Confidence
Lifeguards on a surf simulator should not only be lifeguards. They must double as instructors to be effective for your venue.
Every single day of your season, you will likely have many total beginners on your FlowRider. It’s important to remember that flowboarding is an action sport at its core, and for many guests, it’s not easy at first.
There’s nothing more frustrating than wiping out over and over again with no guidance. Generally, all it takes is a few simple tips and potentially a rope to take someone from a wipeout warrior to a competent and excited flowboarder in one session, but those tips are hard to figure out without some coaching.
When lifeguards double as instructors, this ensures that guests leave feeling empowered rather than discouraged. And that makes all the difference between a guest leaving your venue with their next session booked, excited to tell their friends all about your amazing venue and a guest leaving your venue feeling like there’s no point in trying again to progress their flowboarding skills.
How can you make your lifeguards into effective instructors?
- Train them on one-on-one coaching skills so they feel confident empowering guests.
- Give them a handful of go-to tips and tricks that riders find helpful when learning to flowboard, and encourage lifeguards to share tips they pick up with other staff members.
- Arm them with outlines and templates for introductory safety and beginner instructional speeches when addressing a group session.
- As mentioned above, make sure your guards have time to practice their own skills on the surf simulator!
3. They Minimize Risk for Guests
Of course, we can’t forget that the main job of your lifeguards is to minimize risk for guests. It’s important to remember that most lifeguard certification programs include pools, waterslides, and lazy rivers, but as of now, they generally neglect surf simulators.
This means that you should tailor your additional safety training for your lifeguards to help them address an array of unique circumstances that can arise on a FlowRider.
While we encourage lifeguards to have fun with guests in their instructor role, it’s important that they still command respect and can quickly step into their serious lifeguard role to make sure guests are not putting themselves in harm’s way.
When your lifeguards feel confident that they know the FlowRider-specific rules and show that they care about minimizing risk for guests, guests will feel more confident on your wave.
How can you help your lifeguards minimize risk?
- Become an expert on our safety trainings, safety signage, and OPMs, and make sure your lifeguards become experts on this, too.
- Have specific protocols outlined for your lifeguards in case of emergency or reckless riders who are not listening to your guards.
- Follow in-service training protocols that are in-line with your state regulations, but make sure these trainings include items specific to your surf simulator as well.
- Have dedicated lifeguards for the FlowRider—even the renowned safety consultants Ellis and Associates agree that the staff on the FlowRider should be dedicated to the attraction and not subject to job rotation that most waterparks employ.
How FlowRider Can Help
An excellent lifeguard staff is a must for a successful surf simulator venue, and although this may seem daunting, venue owners and operators are not alone.
We recently revamped our safety trainings here at FlowRider, and we offer these safety trainings to FlowRider venues at no cost.
Guest experience is of the utmost importance to us, so these trainings for your lifeguard staff focus on the three areas above. To learn more about how FlowRider can help, fill out our contact form or reach out to our After-Sales Manager, Josh Ornelaz, for more information.