Up-and-coming Far North Coast Branch Nipper, Jack Keough says he “didn’t want anyone to get hurt” after he bravely fought against a strong tide to rescue two surfers in the Richmond River last Friday.
The nine-year-old Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore SLSC member completed his first ever rescue after he noticed the pair, of no more than 12 years old – struggling against the current on their surfboards and took it on himself to guide them back to safer waters.
“I was thinking to myself ‘What do I do?’. I saw them and knew I had to do something as I didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” Jack recounted.
“I just remembered all my board training and swam out to them.”
“One of the young girls Jack rescued was on her back when he got there. She was starting to panic,” Jack’s mother, Sue added.
Having been a Nipper since Under 8s and regularly participating in bi-weekly board training over the summer, Jack was well equipped to understand the dangers of the situation. He showed his technical skill as well, in executing the rescue without any issues.
“He was with his older sister, Madison at the time,” Ms Keough continued.
“Madison was on a Nipper board, one of the fibreglass ones, and Jack was on a foam surfboard.
“My kids were the only two when they first went in the water, then the two others came on surfboards and it was obvious they weren’t as confident in the water.
“Jack and Madison kept an eye on them and when they started getting pushed out by the tide, Jack switched boards with Madison and paddled over to them.”
It’s a fantastic ending to a story that could’ve been so different without Jack’s efforts – efforts Sue believes are reflective of not only his training, but his choice in how he spends his free time.
“His favourite TV show to watch is Bondi Rescue,” Sue said, with a smile.
“He just sits in front of the tele and watches so intently.”