Background[edit | edit source]

Part of Water (film) by Tim Burnham, Jack Murgatroyd, and Hunthouse Pictures.

In the words of Director Jack Murgatroyd, “Part of Water tells the tragic story of fallen lifeguard, Ben Carlson, who lost his life in the line of duty while on a rescue during a massive swell in 2014. Through Ben’s story, Part of Water sheds light on the countless dangers that ocean lifeguards face and earning the respect they’ve always deserved.”

Insights[edit | edit source]

On July 6th, 2014, Newport Beach lifeguard Ben Carlson responded to a call about a man in distress as 10-to-12-foot waves pounded the Southern California beach town. Carlson was a waterman of the highest order, but, for reasons that to this day remain elusive, Carlson never surfaced after successfully rescuing the man. He remains the only U.S. lifeguard to lose his life on duty despite the dangers ocean lifeguards face on a daily basis.

Carlson’s story is heroic and is the subject of a documentary called Part of Water – from the filmmakers behind Dirty Old Wedge. On the heels of a recent world premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival, I caught up with the film’s directors Tim Burnham and Jack Murgatroyd about its reception in the community, and their broader ambition to demystify the public perception of lifeguards.

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