Big surf rescue for Elouera SLSC board paddlers

Hard work: Elouera SLSC board paddlers Nathan Neale and Andrew Sharp on the beach after training this week.
Hard work: Elouera SLSC board paddlers Nathan Neale and Andrew Sharp on the beach after training this week.

Elouera SLSC board paddlers Andrew Sharp and Nathan Neale caught more than a few waves when training in the big waves off Cronulla beach last week.

With the Council Lifeguards off duty and the light fading, Nathan caught his last wave of the day, and headed in, Andrew was following when he heard a call for help from behind the Cronulla Rockpools.

Sharp who is an elite-level board paddler and part of the 2020 NSW bronze medal-winning team found a bodyboard rider struggling against the rip in the notorious 'Voodoo Express.'

Sharp said the bodyboarder was exhausted, the swell was a solid 6-8ft, a strong Southerly was blowing and it was getting dark.

"He was some 150-200m away from me and as I paddled over, I realised we were in the direct line of big waves," he said.

"I tried to calm him down, saying we would be OK.

"I got him on the board and tried to get out of the danger zone, paddling south before set waves washed through."

At this stage, Neale realised that something was not right and had paddled back out to help out.

"It was dark, I was getting tired and unsure of the patient's swimming ability and we had to paddle out to sea twice to avoid big sets," he said.

"We went south as far as we could and rolled over coming in but managed to get back on the board quickly and let the waves push us into the beach. Being involved in surf lifesaving for 18 years, I have never had to complete a rescue of that nature before. Fortunately, all our training and Surf Lifesaving practice kicked into gear."