Quick thinking 12-year-old rescues young girl from surf
SINCE he was seven years old, Brayden Drew has been learning how to save lives.
On the weekend, the 12-year-old Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club nipper put his years of training into practice, coming to the aid of a father and daughter struggling in the surf at Maroochydore during the Queensland Youth Surf Life Saving Championships.
Brayden was competing on Saturday when he decided to go for a paddle on his nipper board between events.
It was a decision that may have had a life-changing outcome for the unknown father and daughter.
"I was just sitting under the (surf club) tent, then me and my friend went for a paddle," Brayden said. "There was this guy holding a little girl out of the water, and he told me to come over and rescue her.
"It wasn't in the flags ... they looked like they were struggling."
The Kawana Waters State College student said the man and his young daughter, who he believed were caught in a rip, were about 25m offshore.
His nipper training kicked in and Brayden helped the girl, believed to be about eight years old, on to his board and paddled her to shore.
"She asked me what club I was from," he said.
"Then she got up and ran up to her mum."
Her father was able to swim in unassisted, and thanked Brayden.
If the man had not approached the Kawana Surf Club tent later to let the club know they had a hero in their midst, notable for his white-blond hair, no one would have been any the wiser, Kawana junior activities coordinator Jason Lenske said.
"When he said white-blond hair, we immediately knew who it was," Mr Lenske said.
Seeing a nipper use his training in a real-life situation was "what it was all about", Mr Lenske said.
"At the end of the day, they train and they do nippers for one purpose, which is to eventually be a patrolling member on the beach and do it well," he said.
"If you had someone else there that didn't know what to do or have the surf skills, it could have turned out differently."
Brayden's mother Andy Drew said the brave youngster, who is also a member of the Kawana Boardriders Club, had remained characteristically phlegmatic about the experience.
"Whether he would have said anything to us, I'm not sure," Mrs Drew laughed.
Mr Lenske did not know where the family was from or if they were involved in the championships.
If you know the family Brayden rescued, phone the Sunshine Coast Daily on 5430 8080.