At 7pm on Sunday evening, both Porthcawl RNLI lifeboats Rose of the Shires and Jean Ryall launched to reports of persons in difficulty in the water off Rest Bay, Porthcawl .
The 2 volunteer crews from Porthcawl RNLI Lifeboat station launched immediately, and made their way through rough seas to the reported position of the bodyboarder and swimmer. As they approached Rest Bay, a swimmer and a bodyboarder could be seen in the water. When the lifeboat came along side them, it turned out that the swimmer who had swam out to rescue the surfer was Chris Page, one of the lifeboat crew who had been working earlier that day as a local authority lifeguard at Rest Bay.
Chris said, “I was walking on Locks Common with friends when I saw a bodyboarder in difficulty and drifting out to sea. I told my friends who were with me to ring the coastguard and ask for the lifeboat, whilst I climbed down the rocks from the common. I made the decision to swim out to him as I was confident in my ability as a trained beach lifeguard and concerned for his safety as he appeared to be in a lot of difficulty and was off his board a significant amount of the time.”
Volunteer RNLI Lifeboat Helmsman Carl Evans said “it was lucky that Chris had spotted the body boarder and had the initiative to ensure the lifeboats were launched before he entered the water. Chris swam about 200 meters to reach the surfer in heavy surf and strong currents. Visibility was poor off Rest Bay as the waves were about 1-2 meters high, and at times, they could not be seen by the lifeboats. Chris staying with the bodyboarder and reassuring him was essential, as there was a risk he might lose his board in the surf or attempt to swim ashore and he may not have been seen in the waves.”
Chris and the surfer were then put safely ashore by the smaller D Class Lifeboat, and other surfers close to the point were advised to make their way further across the beach.
If you see someone in trouble at sea dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.