Join us and help support this medical fundraiser for George Ramos hosted by the North Shore Lifeguard's Association
-- Sunday, May 27, 2012 9:00am - 5:00pm
PADDLE FOR GEORGE, is a 3.5 Mile Open-Ocean Prone/SUP or OC-1 Paddleboard race from Sunset Beach to Waimea Bay. Race starts at 11am. Awards 1st through 3rd places for each division.
Entry forms located at link below or register online at paddleforgeorge.eventbrite.com...GO HERE
Event Check in from 9am on Race day with cutoff at 10:30am
|Schedule / Additional Info:|
Name: Dennis Pang
Phone: (808) 638-7339
Thank to Dennis Pang for the following piece:
A Great Story from 2002
Life-saving paddler just glad he could help
In his 50 years, George Ramos Jr. has spent countless hours surfing and paddling the waters of O'ahu's North Shore. You could say it's his life.
|"I was just glad I was there," said George Ramos Jr., who saved a woman's life on Sunday.|
Ramos has been a reluctant hero since that day, hiding behind a shy smile and friendly eyes, shrugging off the accolades and uncomfortably accepting a dinner invitation in Waikiki from Bradford and her husband, who wanted to thank Ramos. But friends say what he did was typical of his helpful nature.
"I was just glad I was there," said Ramos. "It was just something that happened. We just ran into each other."
To Ramos, as pleased as he was to be able to help Bradford, it was just another day on the water. But for Bradford it was much more.
When Ramos saw a lone diver drifting alone about a half-mile off Waimea Bay on Sunday, struggling to stay afloat, he knew something was wrong.
In the middle of the Hale'iwa Joe's Paddleboard Race on the North Shore, Ramos didn't think twice about stopping to help Bradford, an experienced diver who got caught in the north side's strong current that pulled her dangerously out to sea.
"Please help me," she said to him as he paddled closer.
He pulled her on his paddleboard, and jumped in the water to keep it steady. They waited for about 15 minutes before a lifeguard boat spotted them.
She was lucky. Ramos had paddled farther offshore than the other competitors in the 4.5-mile race to find a faster route to Ali'i Beach. Had he taken the inside track, she would have drifted farther out, lost to lifeguards and firefighters who had been searching for her that morning.
That Ramos saved someone's life didn't surprise his friends, who describe him as a giving, caring, helpful person.
They said pulling out of the last paddleboarding competition on the North Shore to help Bradford added to what Ramos did.
"We're all super, super competitive," said longtime friend Buddy Sheppard, who trains and competes with Ramos.
About 10 minutes into the race, Ramos decided to take an outside route, while the rest of the paddleboarders moved inside. He tapped the back of Sheppard's board, told him, "Later," and was off.
That's when he spotted Bradford, drifting and exhausted, barely able to call for help.
"There was no decision," Ramos said. "Being a water person, you don't even think about it. You just stop and help."
Having spent his entire life on the North Shore, Ramos understands and respects the ocean in his back yard. He grew up surfing at Sunset and Pipeline, picking up paddleboarding more than 20 years ago to keep in shape during the north side's flat summers. He started competing seriously about 15 years ago, completing six Kaiwi Channel races — a 32-mile course — solo. He's one of just two competitors who have done every race alone. (Ramos finished the race in July in 7 hours, 12 minutes, placing 16th overall in the individual category.)
Ramos, a carpenter, manages to squeeze in time to train between jobs, going on runs longer than Sunday's race in Hale'iwa. He runs and bikes as well, all to stay in shape for paddleboarding.
"He's an extremely competitive person," said Mike Takahashi, race director for the QuikSilverEdition Moloka'i To O'ahu Paddleboard Race, who has known Ramos for more than 20 years. "Every training day is a race day for him. It's brutal to train with the guy, it really is. You would never believe he's 50. He doesn't show his age at all."
Though he said he had never done anything like that before, friends say Ramos will help anyone in need. He has even let foreign paddleboard competitors stay at his Sunset Beach home while they're in town for races.
"George has pulled people in from rough conditions in the surf," Takahashi said. "To save a life, you can't put a price tag on that. ... We have to watch out for people here. They're not really aware of how dangerous the ocean is here, even if it's calm."
Paddleboarding, in a way, is connected with lifesaving. The whole sport, in its competitive form, is an offshoot of lifeguard competitions. A fair percentage of competitors are lifeguards, who use paddleboards in rescues.
"It's no surprise that one of the paddleboarders would be involved in a rescue," Takahashi said. "It's almost like we're an auxiliary of the lifeguards."
A fierce competitor, Ramos jumped back into Sunday's race after lifeguards arrived to take Bradford to shore. Even with a 15-minute lag, he still managed to finish in the middle of the pack, arriving at Ali'i Beach to applause and cheering.
It was a race he felt confident about winning, a race he needed to prepare for Hennessey's International Paddleboarding Championship in Australia next month.
Ramos was a close second when he dropped out to help Bradford.
Not that he minded.
"It was better than winning," said Ramos, who went to dinner the next evening with Bradford and her husband.