Three visitors from Sydney owe their lives to these local teenage surfers, Ronin Murray and Callum Cunningham, who rescued them from a rip at South Bombo.
Once they heard the family on the beach calling for help and saw the three adult siblings were in trouble, they calmly implemented the skills and knowledge gained at a three day surf survival course they did at their school, Kiama High.
“As part of the theory and practical sessions, we were taught to back off a bit and calm them down, as the panicking can make it worse,” says Ronin. “I got her on my board and took her further out so she could calm down more, then brought her back through the waves. She was really struggling when I got to her.”
In the meantime, Callum went to the aid of the other sister, and finding she could swim took her safely to a bank before rescuing their brother.
“They obviously have no idea how a beach works,” he says. “They said they were used to pools.”
The stretch of beach is signposted as not being suitable for swimming, but the message isn’t getting through, much to the frustration of Andy Mole, Kiama Council’s Head Lifeguard.
“The sign clearly outlines the dangers and that there has been a death there, but we’ll be looking at whether further signage is needed at the end of the path to the beach,” he says.
“It is incidents like this that show why people really need to swim between the flags.
“The emergency radio we had at South Bombo over the summer holidays was used on several occasions to summon lifeguards from the other end of the beach.”