Surfer who dived head-first into jellyfish thanks helpers

A SYDNEY man who dived head-first into a jellyfish at Sunshine Beach has said the kindness of locals who helped him soothe the pain and get home safely was why he loved the Sunshine Coast.

Andrew Barrs had been surfing for half-an-hour on Friday morning when he duck-dived under a wave and ended up with a face full of jellyfish.

"I felt something brush across my face and pretty much instantly I started getting intensely painful stinging and burning sensations across my eyes, mouth and nose," he said.

"I knew I'd been stung by something and tried to just keep ducking my head under the water to ease it, but after a few minutes I had a lot of trouble focusing my sight and felt like my left eye was closing up and swollen."

He paddled in to shore, but the pain increased to the point where he couldn't open his eyes at all.

"That's when Dave (a stranger) and his wife came past on a walk and asked me what was wrong as I was grimacing and probably swearing," he said.

"He carried my board for 600 or so metres and led me back to the surf club where he gave me some ice, which eased the pain."

After 30 minutes he was able to open his eyes.

"Another clubbie called 'Chicken' gave me a lift back to my car at north Sunshine."

He said he found people on the Coast to be good folks, as this most recent experience showed, and it was one of the reasons he and his wife still brought their four-year-old son back here for holidays.

Mr Barrs and his wife are both high school teachers from Sydney, and have holidayed at the Coast since the 1980s when Mr Barrs's sister moved to Coolum.

"We usually stay in Noosa as my wife loves the cafes and restaurants and I get to surf," he said. "The cruisy atmosphere and friendly locals are also a big drawcard."

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