Southbroom paddler rescues surfer swept out to sea

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A local paddler saved a surfer in troubled waters at Southbroom beach on Friday last week.

Mike ‘Sea-Dog’ Halliday was packing away his surfski after his session when he saw a crowd of people pointing out to sea. A man was being swept out to sea with the strong wind towards Ramsgate.

When Halliday ran towards the lifeguard station to ask why they were not going out to rescue the surfer, they replied “we don’t have a rescue board”. Upon hearing this, Halliday immediately grabbed his own board from a storage facility at the beach and thundered into the water to rescue the young surfer. “When he got to to the surfer, he was ok but clearly in trouble. Mike told him to grab onto his board and hold on while he swam the guy in with his surfboard trailing behind,” Cathy Halliday said.

Both Halliday and the surfer landed on the beach exhausted. “The surfer’s wife and small children were thrilled that their dad was safe,” Halliday added. Eyewitnesses told eHowzit that Halliday proceeded to store his board and cycled home. Facebook praised Halliday’s efforts to save a fellow human and deemed him a selfless hero.

Halliday, who is in his sixty’s, is an ex-lifesaver that trains daily as a hobby and has won many surfski competitions in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and World Championships.

Many questioned why Halliday had to risk his life to save the young surfer with his own surfski when there is a lifeguard station at Southbroom beach. “The three strapping Southbroom lifesavers watched helplessly as they did not have the necessary equipment to rescue the surfer,” Halliday added.

“Can you imagine if that Malibu Board wasn’t there yesterday and the hut was used for other things. Because these diehard paddlers are able to use that little hut to store their craft, a person’s life was saved on our beach,” she added.

eHowzit contacted the Southbroom Ratepayers Association and Hibiscus Coast Municipality regarding the incident.

Brian Thompson, Chairman of the Southbroom Ratepayers Association said that they are aware of the incident and “have already requested a report from the HCM beach manager”. “We believe that there should be a full investigation of all life threatening incidents at beaches to establish the root cause and agree actions to prevent similar incidents,” Thompson said.

At the time of publication, Hibiscus Coast Municipality had not responded.

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