Yesterday I headed down to Pine Trees to catch some waves but when we got there the conditions looked pretty bad. It was overhead, crossed-up, storm surf. Only a couple guys were out surfing and they were riding whitewater re-form into a “rip pool” (deep hole caused from water rushing back out to sea through the surf). They were surfing the same spot a large shark was spotted the day before which closed the beach to until that morning.
I reluctantly got out of the truck to head down near the shoreline. After the two guys finished their surf session, I jumped in the same zone they were surfing to catch a couple re-form waves.
The surf was chewed-up but consistent due to a storm close to the island that was generating over-head wind swell. On my last wave I almost hit some dude swimming around in the slop. The surfing area at Pine Trees is two miles long, so I was a bit frustrated when the only other person in the water was right in the way while I was trying to get a turn in before riding to the beach.
I went in to the beach, and as I was warming up, I looked out at the rip-pool and caught a glimpse of the guy I almost ran over about to drown. He was struggling to keep his head above water, and was trying to scream “help” toward the beach in-between getting slammed by waves while getting pulled out to sea.
I quickly grabbed my board, ran up the beach, and jumped in the water. Luckily I was able to get to him before he submerged. When he climbed up my shortboard he was panicking and gasping for air, but after I ensured he was going to be fine, he collected himself.
As I was swimming him out of the rip current a Hawaiian lifeguard pulled up in a truck and jumped in the water to meet us on a rescue board. The lifeguard took the victim onto his big yellow board and told the guy he was lucky I was there, and that he needed to always obey the posted signs about not swimming in dangerous surf areas before taking him to shore.
After the victim got to the beach a different lifeguard pulled up on an ATV to reiterate the dangers of swimming in rip currents and posted no-swimming areas to the victim. He then drove over and had me write a quick narrative.
Few better feelings than the gratification that comes from saving someones life. I love lifeguarding, on-duty or not.
Photo courtesy – www.patricksmithphotography.com