January 19, 2024


We are very proud of 2 separate rescues performed on consecutive evenings at Wanda in December. The first of which was nominated for Rescue of the month.

Date : 12/12/23
Time: approx 6:10pm – after lifeguards had finished for the day.
Location: north of Wanda (approx 250m) – just before track 6

Wanda Surf team had just completed training. Most of the competitors had adjourned to the clubhouse for showers. A small group of the male training group remained on the beach to complete their regular “World Champo” body surfing contest. After they completed that, they were chatting on the water’s edge. They heard screams for help coming from approx 80-100m north of where they were standing.

3 swimmers in distress were caught in a strong rip – 2 males and a female. English tourists in their mid-twenties. They were screaming for help with most concern around the female.

Noah Steiner, Ben Sutton, and Nich Middleton grabbed their boards, ran north and then paddled out. Each of the boys headed to a different patient in a co-ordinated response.

Noah and Nich rescued the 2 males. The female was in significant trouble – slipping under the water. Ben reached the female and held her above water before managing to get her on the board. The female patient was in respiratory distress and panicking. She let Ben know she was a severe asthmatic and couldn’t breathe. Noah Steiner, after returning his patient to shore, noticed the concerns for the female were serious and headed back out to assist. Ben brought the female patient into shore on his board.

Will Steiner, Dane Sutton, Jackson Middleton and Jack Fisher had paddled down in support but remained closer to shore to co-ordinate the rescue and provide post-rescue care. Nich sent Jackson to run to the clubhouse to get a Ventolin puffer and to alert those at the clubhouse to the incident unfolding.

The 3 patients were given first aid and monitored for a period. Most concern surrounded the female patient. The patients were offered advanced medical care (ambulance) on several occasions however they refused. Ben then talked to them about the symptoms of secondary drowning, to watch for any deterioration and to seek urgent medical care if they were unwell.

In summary, the boys were able to recognise the severity of the situation and used their years of training as competitors and lifesavers to perform a critical rescue. They ran to the rip, paddled out, and performed effective board rescues of each patient to get them back to shore safely. They were then able to provide post-incident care and further support and advice for an extended period. They had no external support – given there were no lifeguards on duty – no radios and used the only equipment at their disposal, being their racing mals.

They showed initiative and leadership, planned the rescue, executed the rescue and provided post-incident care. Paperwork was also completed. Their actions prevented what witnesses described as a likely fatal outcome.

Well done boys – Wanda is extremely proud of you! This rescue was nominated for December Rescue of the Month.

Amazingly, there was another rescue performed the very next evening (13/12 at about 5:30pm). A patient was getting carried out in a rip. The senior water training group was training at the same time. Wanda member, Morgan Lloyd, noticed the patient in distress as he was out paddling his board in training. He managed to identify the situation as being critical and left the training group to paddle across to the patient prior to members of the public and lifeguards being able to reach it.

Again, an example of presence of mind and being able to utilise all the years of training, knowledge and skills to avert another potentially serious situation. Well done to Morgan! Fantastic effort.