About 8 years ago, I paddled out in a hurricane swell with a buddy. To be honest, we really should not have paddled out - we realized that after we made it past the breakers. I started going for a monster, which I did catch, only to be gobbled up down the line. My leash snapped during the 'washing machine cycle' and I was all alone. My buddy was a good ways away, thanks to the killer drift. I tried paddling in to shore, but the sets just kept sucking me out. Someone must have called the police, because CB guards showed up in Team America fashion via their Hummer. One guard hopped out and grabbed my board, which had already washed up. About 10 minutes later, I finally made it to shore, with no help from the guards. I walked up, grabbed my board, said "thanks for saving my board" & walked off. Guards are not technically supposed to put their lives in danger, so a resuce is not always in line, if you will. Looking back, it was a great lesson and I'm glad I was able to make it in on my own. The same swell tore apart the North End pier - my buddy and I actually saw a pier piling floating away when we were out there. We thought it was a whale at first.
The ocean is a ferocious beast, so don't take it for granted. On that note, don't count on a rescue, so know your limits.
CB lifeguards are well aware that the surf community makes their lives easier on big days.