NAME: ADA RUIZ

LOCATION(S): LA PAZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MEXICO

YEARS LIFEGUARDING: 10

My name is Ada Ruiz and I was born in Mexico City in 1968. I had a love for everything water related since I was little, as my father at that stage of his life was a diver and a lifeguard which merged with my mother’s love for constantly traveling and visiting places with pools, rivers, lagoons or by the sea, which was the reason my brothers and I grew up around natural environments. This passion for aquatic environments has lasted ́til today since my professional career is that of a biologist with a masters degree in animal biology –graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

During my years at UNAM I met who later became my husband with whom we share the love for nature, the outdoors and water activities. Together we took SCUBA diving courses at the university ́s campus with JackBaron, aSCUBA diving instructor who took us on many dive trips to lagoons, to sea and even altitude diving trips. During my last Biology years at UNAM I started teaching at the Science Faculty which made me love teaching, and during the 10 years that followed I taught various subjects as a university professor.

After I finished the SCUBA diving courses, I joined UNAMs Mountaineering Association where I took the basic exploration, technician, speleology (cave exploration),climbing, canyoneering and advanced courses. By then, a river rafting and kayaking clinic opened up which also ended up being an activity of my liking, to the point where I became a river guide in addition to taking wilderness first aid and whitewater rescue courses. In the three years that followed I was an instructor for the association’s basic courses, which was a period full of learning. I especially liked being responsible for the safety and well being of my students.

In 2011, my husband, children and I decided to move to La Paz, Baja California Sur, so we could be closer to the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean, which had been one of our main objectives. In 2014 I met the lifeguard supervisor at GLC Aquatic Safety Dept. (ASD) and later I got a scholarship for an Emergency FirstResponse®(EFR®) course, followed by an invite to become anASD lifeguard. In addition to my lifeguard training academy with ASD, I got the chance to participate in the XXII Aquatic Rescue Seminar offered in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, by Surf Lifesaving del Sur TM, an NGO founded by Jimmy Canale (Retired San Diego CityLifeguard Sergeant) and Laine Pepper(RetiredSanDiegoCityMarineSafetyOfficer).In addition toot her courses I have taken, among them sea kayaking courses, currently I am an ACA (American Canoe Association) certified Level II Instructor.

In parallel to my work and activities asa professor,I have the chance to work as a recurrent ocean lifeguard with ASD. Among some of my favorite lifeguard assignments were multiple editions of the ITU (International Triathlon Union) PanAmerican Cup in La Paz and Ironman®/Ironman® 70.3 in Los Cabos, being an instructor at ASD ́s Junior Lifeguard Program in La Paz, and providing production set marine/beach safety for a VH1® reality TV show. –During the latter, two of the actresses got in trouble due to their SUPs drifting offshore with the wind, and so while my supervisor went to rescue one of them, I rescued the other actress.

As a professional ocean lifeguard, nowadays I am even certified in ICS-100 and ICS-200 by FEMA (the US Federal Emergency Management Agency). Having that knowledge and understanding of the Incident Command System allows me to be a more efficient member of the Baja California Sur CERT (Community Emergency ResponseTeam) during disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms and floods.

Images provided by Ada Ruiz.