The volunteer RNLI crew from Porthcawl launched the charity’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat on service for the first time this year on Wednesday afternoon to rescue a surfer who had been swept around a headland in a rip current.

Porthcawl’s RNLI’s volunteer crew were paged by UK Coastguard at 3.12pm on Wednesday 9 January 2020 and tasked to the incident alongside the Llantwit Major Coastguard team and Coastguard Rescue Helicopter. The surfer was trapped beneath cliffs and Porthcawl inshore lifeboat, Rose Of The Shires, was launched after onlookers from the shore raised the alarm by dialing 999 and asking for the Coastguard.

Chris Missen, helm of Porthcawl Lifeboat says: ‘as we headed to the location visibility was fairly poor with a sea fog, however as we arrived on scene the crew spotted the surfer almost immediately, beneath the cliffs. Once the surfer saw our lifeboat he re-entered the water and started to paddle out through the surf. The conditions were fairly challenging with 1-2m breaking waves but I managed to position the lifeboat in the surf zone so that the crew could pull the surfer from the water. Once we got him safely onboard the surfer told us how he’d been caught in a rip current and swept around the headland.’

Aileen Jones MBE, RNLI Deputy Launch Authority said: ‘the crew did a great job in difficult conditions. There was a heavy swell and the tide was still incoming meaning it was time critical as the surfer was trapped beneath the cliffs. The RNLI has some great information regarding rip currents and staying safe if surfing through the winter months on its website:’

Full news release with downloadable video and images available here: