Surfers are our accidental lifeguards.
Never has this been more obvious than at Stanwell Park on the weekend, when quick thinking saved the lives of three men who would certainly otherwise have drowned.
“We were right in front of the surf club, but there are no patrols yet,” he says. “The men fell off the sandbank and were in neck-deep water, unable to get back to shore. One in particular started to panic.
“We were just about to run the heat so the guys were heading down to the water. I called to them to paddle out and grab the men. Time passes slowly in a situation like this, but they must have reached them in 30 seconds, and were able to bring them back to shore.
“One of the men was in a bad way, but luckily we had people watching Boardriders who had medical training and were able to offer assistance.
“It was frightening to think that if we hadn’t all been there, they may well have drowned.”
Ian says rips are a surfer’s friend, but can be terrifying for a swimmer. “We use the rip to take us out the back,” he says. “We actually had 10 year old girls in the water at the time, and thought nothing of it, but without a board, being in a rip can be frightening.”
He says it’s vital that if you’re caught in a rip, you don’t panic. “Panic uses up your oxygen and you’ll start to go under the water,” Ian says. “So try and stay calm and just go with it. Then put your hand in the air for help so a surfer, or a lifeguard will see you’re in trouble and bring you in.
Surfers are also being urged to be aware of swimmers who might be in trouble. “Just like in this case, surfers can be on the spot in seconds and can pull a person onto their board. They’re generally the closest people to anyone who’s in trouble.”
Hayden, Jayden and Tim will be given special Scarborough Boardrider Club awards for their bravery.
For the record, after completing the rescue, the surfers went out for the pointscore. The results are as follows:- A Grade: Squiz, Haydo, Tim, Sloppy