Honored to have been nominated for Lifeguard Rescue of the Year 2012.
Out of the hundreds of San Diego lifeguards who make thousands of water rescues each year, it’s considered a tremendous accomplishment and I’m very proud to have the recognition.
Ended up getting runner-up to a heroic rescued made by Katie Kilner at the award ceremony. Katie’s rescue happened at La Jolla Cove during a big day last spring. She suffered a broken hip while saving the lives of two grown men in-between a notoriously dangerous stretch of rocks called Razor Reef. Even with a broken hip, she was able to overcome the pain and execute the saves. It was a miraculous rescue that she obviously made with incredible determination.
Katie deserves the win 100% and I’m really psyched for her. Hope she has a speedy recovery and is able to make more rescues soon. Had the chance to make some heavy rescues with Katie during big swells at WindanSea last year, which is were I first gained a ton of respect for her lifeguard skills.
The rescue I was nominated for happened at Big Rock last September, during the largest south swell La Jolla has seen in over a decade. I was surfing Big Rock, when local legend Eric “Bird” Huffman (owner of Birds Surf Shed, South Coast Surf Shop, and does the surf report on FM 94.9 radio), fell on a bomb.
I paddled over to make sure he was OK, and noticed he had a giant gash in his foot. It was bleeding profusely. Attempted to get him to shore as fast as possible, but the dredging surf was consistently slamming into 15 foot rocks all along the coast. I ditched my board and somehow managed to wrangle him down the coast through the rocks, in the impact zone, without any fins or buoy. Bird was drowning from excessive hold-downs, exhaustion, and lack of blood, so I was pretty worried about the situation.
Somehow managed to shoot a keyhole through the rocks in the shorebreak, where my backup guard, Adam Montgomery, helped me drag Bird out of the water and carry him up the pump house stairs. We radioed for an ambulance, and Bird was rushed to the hospital where he later made a full recovery.
Absolutely love the gratification that comes from making rescues and helping people, and really fortunate to be able to do it for a living while working for various lifeguarding agencies including the San Diego Fire And Life Safety Department. Feels good to get the nomination.
Photos by: Will Sooter, Aaron Goulding, Bruce Jameson.