Troy’s the Boy in Surf Rescue Drama
It was a cool September morning when the East Side Crew fitness team made their way back from an early workout in the Tamarama Gully.
The surf was big and rough and Crew leader and owner Troy Stewart was watching the waves as they approached the Bronte Surf Club shortly before 7.00am.
He suddenly spotted something floating outside the bogey hole. Realising it was a person, he sprinted down the stairs, alerting the lifeguards as he shed his clothes and headed towards the water.
A lady who was swimming in the Bogey Hole had been swiftly swept out in a big surge and was in serious trouble as the current dragged her out towards the crashing waves beyond the rocks.
Even though Mr Stewart is widely regarded as one of the best local watermen, he readily admitted to being a bit nervous when he jumped in as there were some monstrous sets rolling through.
“We’d had some massive waves the day before and it looked like it was starting to settle down a bit, but there were still some big sets coming in and I think that’s when she got taken out,” Mr Stewart, 37, told The Beast.
“The big waves filled up the bogey hole and it was like a flash rip that sucked all the water back out and took the lady with it.”
“I was a bit nervous jumping in because it was so cold and at first didn’t realise it was a small lady in trouble.”
“But the thing was there was no rescue equipment, as the lifeguards hadn’t set up yet because they had only just started duty.”
“As I was swimming out she was sort of coming in and we met halfway. She was totally unresponsive and didn’t even know I was there. I came in from behind to tuck her in so she couldn’t turn around and try to panic too much.”
“It looked like she was going down for the last time and I pulled her up and held her until the boys (lifeguards) got there.”
“I held onto her for only a few seconds before (lifeguard) Wally Eggleton turned up with a rescue tube followed by Anthony (‘Harries’) Carroll on a rescue board.”
Ironically, as Mr Carroll was paddling out he had to pull a would-be rescuer to safety who had jumped off the pool to try and help.
For their efforts the boys recently received a meritorious award from the Bronte Surf Club. The rescue was also recognised at the time by Surf Life Saving Australia as the “Rescue of the Month” and is now also under consideration for National recognition by SLSA.
Bronte is renowned for its treacherous conditions and incidents like this are a warning to those unfamiliar with the ocean.
“Why anyone would have gone in the water on a day like that is beyond me,” Mr Stewart said. “You always have to respect the ocean no matter what the conditions are and know your limitations.”