GEORGE NEWS - A tragedy was averted at Victoria Bay on Sunday morning when massive waves trapped a teenager (16) and his dad between the surf and the sea.
The two (names withheld on request) were brought to safety through the combined efforts of surfer Gavin Wilson, the NSRI and onlookers.
The boy, who had been bodyboarding, got into trouble when the leash of his board snapped. His dad put on flippers and tried to help him.
"They were both very strong swimmers and they swam with the right gear, but they were in a spot at the bay where you can easily get caught," said Wilson, who spotted the two in the water.
Wilson said he watched them for a minute doing back strokes and waving, when he realised they needed help. "The backwash doesn't let you go in [to the shore] and the waves keep on crashing on you. When you try to catch the foam it just rolls you," said Wilson.
The spot where the two got caught is almost midway between the pier and the rocky cliffs on the Wilderness side of the bay. At the time they were the only people in the water. Wilson said local surfers are well aware of the danger that area poses and he has had a close call there himself.
On Sunday the height of the waves increased from three to four meters within an hour. "The surf got bigger very quickly. I tried on four occasions to enter the water, but the waves were just to big to get through," said Wilson. With the help of a friend who was positioned at a lookout point, Wilson managed to find a gap and paddled to the duo, who had to swim out further out to sea to find a calm spot. "We had a great time together in the water and we kept calm," said Wilson. "The water was beautiful and warm - crystal clear."
In the meantime, the NSRI launched their sea rescue craft Clemengold Rescuer, and an hour later the two were rescued and brought safely ashore at Wilderness beach. Wilson surfed out to the Vic Bay beach.
Wilson highly commended the NSRI for their amazing work. "They called everyone together at the end of the walkway [on the rocks at Land's End] and asked them to signal to the father and son to swim deeper into the ocean, away from the shore," he said.
"I have so much praise for the NSRI. Twenty years ago I broke my leg on a rubber duck in Plettenberg Bay and they rescued me. For years my dad contributed towards their cause and I have continued with that. Never ever think it is a waste to call them for help. They are amazing."
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