top of page

Moderne Day Man & Woman


By Roxana Vosough

With the northern hemisphere summer right around the corner, MMJ. would like to tribute this months Moderne Day Man & Woman to the men and women of the International Surf Lifesaving Association.

From coasts to coasts, around the world, The International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) is a volunteer-based nonprofit network of lifeguards working together to reduce drowning worldwide by providing training, medical supplies, disaster relief, and emergency personnel to beach communities throughout the world.  ISLA initially started with four friends - Pete Eich, Henry Reyes, Scott Hunthausen and Olin Patterson - who wanted to make a unique difference by not only rescuing swimmers, but also by educating communities throughout the world about water safety, ultimately leading to saving hundreds of lives. Today, the organization has grown into a dynamic team of doctors, nurses, lifeguards, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency personnel from various agencies in several countries.

Commencing in 2008, ISLA’s founding gentlemen (Pete Eich, Henry Reyes, Scott Hunthausen and Olin Patterson) rode their bikes from Virginia to California. Over a span of 65 days, the bike ride broadened their passion for ISLA, creating great exposure and support across the US.

After their cross-country ride, the founders embarked on their first effort to Nicaragua, as just four volunteer lifeguards from Huntington Beach, California (or “Surf City, USA”). Their goal? To reduce drowning, primarily on Easter Sunday, which holds the highest rate of drowning in Nicaragua. In four years time, the drowning death rate quickly declined (thanks to these incredible men and women), beginning at 130, then 75, then 50, and now 15. These numbers, ISLA Co-Founder Olin Patterson, believes are truly remarkable, as ISLA is, “showing the thumbprint we are leaving.” It’s no wonder that countries throughout the world began to see this beautiful effect and contacted ISLA to come to their countries. ISLA’s reach has truly begun to spread on a global scale, reaching across Latin America, Asia and Europe.

It is a cataclysmic realization that there are so many drownings continuously occurring overseas. Patterson put it simply; “People in these countries might go the beach once a year, and have no idea of how strong the currents really are.” ISLA’s Raquel Lizarraga couldn’t stress enough the importance of water safety and education: “In countries - like the United States, water safety is taught at an early age. Growing up, we learn to respect the ocean, and understand that we are at the mercy of such a beautiful yet powerful force. A swift change in current, a thunderous crash of waves, and other tidal conditions can change at any moment.  Other countries lack the proper funds to employ lifeguards and often lack the infrastructure to provide basic water safety that every human being is entitled to.” Regardless of living conditions or economic privilege, drowning is an easily preventable case of mortality. Lizarraga claims, “That is why it is ISLA’s mission to promote water safety and reduce drowning on a global scale.”

The International Surf Lifesaving Association is an ambitious group of men and women dedicated to making a great difference in the world. Passionate in their cause and driven in their endeavors, they are today's Moderne Day Men & Women.

17 Volunteers sent to the Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
days later…
Lifeguards were certified
Rescues during their time there
of lives saved due to the efforts and actions of ISLA staff and citizen trainees

Current programs in:



Dominican Republic


Future programs in:


Hong Kong


Costa Rica






Composed of:





Police Officers


Emergency Response Personal



Roxana Vosough, 25 is the founder and publisher of MMJ.


Lifeguard, Taylor McGowan speaks of his first trip with ISLA:

“The volunteers pay their own way for the trips, a real testament to what this association stands for. All of the people I’ve met within ISLA aren’t lifeguards because the job pays well. The ISLA lifeguards really strive to make a difference in the world.”

“Despite our successful trip during Semana Santa, the trip could be summed up by Murphy’s Law; anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Our flights were delayed. We constantly moved from place to place to find somewhere to sleep. The computer went haywire and deleted our presentation for the workshops. The military tried closing the beach and we dealt with some hostile crowds. But despite the chaos… I wouldn’t change a thing. This trip tested me as a lifeguard, an instructor and – most of all – as a person. I experienced things I never could have imagined.”


bottom of page