Rescues at Shark Bay prompt warnings of rip
TWO rescues of different people in one day at Shark Bay, Evans Head has prompted us to remind people of the dangers of swimming in or near rips.
Last week local surfer Isaac Fields rescued three young girls from a rip on the northern end towards the wall of Shark Bay.
"They got over to the wall and when a big set of waves came in, it pushed them further out," he said.
"They were swimming frantically against the rip and I was surfing just a bit further up.
"When I asked them if they were ok, they said 'no'.
"One of the girls managed to get herself back to shore, but I guided the other two to follow me out past the rip and back to the middle of the bay."
Body boarding mates Cody McKinnon and Tom Parsons were also at Shark Bay later that afternoon when a young teenage boy got caught in the same rip.
"Cody saw him out of the corner of his eye trying to climb up on the rocks," dad Dallas McKinnon said.
"Cody went over to him and gave him his board."
Cody was then dragged out by the rip but he was wearing flippers that helped him get back into shore.
Mr Fields currently holds the title for Australian Longboard Champion and is a qualified volunteer lifeguard who surfs at Shark Bay nearly every day.
"I watch people try and climb the wall (when they get caught in the rip)," he said.
"Most people panic as the rip goes quickly out to sea.
"All the waves that come in (to Shark Bay) have to go out some how and the water forms a rip which is along the break wall."
Mr Fields strongly suggested that people swim at Main Beach between the flags, or if they must swim at Shark Bay stay on the southern end, away from the wall.
And if you get caught in a rip the best advice is you don't fight it.
"It is really, really easy to get out of (the rip at Shark Bay) as it only goes out to the end of the wall," Mr Fields said.
"If you keep your head above water and don't panic, it may just take you to Main Beach or you can swim back to shore once you are out of it."
"If you see someone in trouble, it's best to call 000 rather than try and help