At around 7.30am one morning on the first week of the October school holidays, Lachie was getting some practice in on his racing paddle board when he noticed two young boys caught in a rip, fully clothed and 150 metres from the shore.
Lachie’s Nippers training kicked in and he immediately paddled over to help the two young boys, aged 9 and 11, who were struggling to stay above the water.
“I was paddling out on my board just catching waves and then there was these kids just screaming for help,” said Lachie of the how he knew the children were in trouble.
“So, we paddled over and got them on our boards and then I just paddled them in and caught a wave.
“I guess it was all the training and it just sort of clicked in and I knew what to do.”
Lachie has been a Nipper at Umina SLSC since he was five and his dad Reuben is an active member of the club, joining in 2014 and completing his Bronze Medallion in 2017.
“Lachie sprang into action pretty quick, he only just started learning surf rescue last year and he’s been competing in it since last year,” said Reuben.
“Usually the patient is compliant, in this case the patient was very panicked, and Lachie had to coach him onto the board. He just did what he’d been trained to do and took the young boy in.”
“You have to take them through it and calm them down. You have to try to get them on the board, stay on there and paddle them in. I wouldn’t have known what to do if I hadn’t of done all of the training,” Lachie said.
The boy’s parents were foreign and couldn’t speak much English. They were on the beach some way in the distance and hadn’t realised their boys were playing in the water or that they had been pulled out by a rip.
“In the spot where we were, we’ve actually pulled out a few kids before, but not as dramatic as that one,” Reuben said.
“I did have a few words to the parents to say about their kids and the fact they were out that far, and no one knew. If there was no one out there, they wouldn’t have known.”
To hear more from Lachie, his dad Reuben and his Uncle Josh about the heroic rescue at Umina Beach, make sure to tune into episode fourteen of Surf Studio on the SLSA website and SLSA Facebook page.