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Saving Lives and Surfing the River

The A1 Surf Crew Rides the Wave to Connect with the Community

Article by Gregg Morris

Photography by Jesse Polay

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

Last May, Bend Fire Department Firefighter Paramedics Taylor Costa and Chase Seamons rode their first waves at the Bend Whitewater Park. Though neither had any surfing experience, the recent Bend Fire & Rescue Academy graduates were coerced to try it by a few of their new coworkers. They immediately fell in love with the experience and the A1 Surf Crew was born. “It was really great to see this small community within Bend thrive like the surfing community was,” explains Costa.

Costa and Seamons had wanted to work in the medical field from a young age and both started as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), driving ambulances prior to graduating from the Academy. Costa’s initial motivation began as a 12-year-old student walking to school in San Francisco. Along the way, an errant driver ran a stop sign and struck Costa, giving him first-hand knowledge on how the responders operate.  “I appreciated how the EMTs communicated with each other and myself,” says Costa. “I knew then I wanted to be a part of the team.”

A big part of Costa’s work at Bend Fire & Rescue, where they work 96 hours on and 48 hours off, lies in educating the community on the importance of CPR and the STOP THE BLEED ® program. Though CPR training has been around for a long time, the relatively new STOP THE BLEED ® program seeks to educate the public on controlling serious bleeding. For his efforts in support of these programs, Costa was awarded a Community Service Award at the 2019 Oregon Emergency Medical Service Awards. “I believe every person should know CPR, feel well-equipped with the knowledge, and unafraid to use it,” says Costa. 

Back on the Deschutes River’s manmade waves, Costa and Seamons were taking a liking to the exhilaration of riding the swells alongside surfing legends and amateurs alike. Soon a core group of medical professionals began riding together, which Costa and Seamons dubbed the A1 Surf Crew, based on the fact that most of the surfers worked the B or C shifts, and their A “shift” was on the water. St. Charles staff, Crook County, and Sunriver medical professionals also join for the early morning or sometimes nighttime sessions. They schedule trips to the Oregon coast to surf the ocean’s waves. Costa and Seamons even created a merchandise line to promote the crew, including t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, tank tops, and surfing accessories. Their tongue-in-cheek tagline reads, “Saving Babies, Surfing with Ladies,” to create a smile. Recently, the A1 Surf Crew brand sponsored a 12-year old female surfer from Florida who is competing in surfing tournaments along the east coast. Both Costa and Seamons agree that the A1 Surf Crew is more about a connection to Bend than selling merchandise. They love their jobs helping people and are content just being out on the water before their shifts. “Our goal is to bring people together to show the simplicity and beauty of surfing,” says Costa. A1SurfCrew.com

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