The first big swell of the season hit yesterday. The waves were 15 feet or so with a few 20 footers rolling through, and had power in them. I had one of those flawless sessions with no wipeouts, and the sets focused right where I was sitting allowing me to catch the wave with ease when those right near could not. I felt strong. At the end of one wave I saw a boy with no board floating in the impact zone with wide eyes. Though he wasn't drowning, he was on the edge and out of breath, so I asked him if he needed help and let him rest on my board to catch his breath. I paddled him out of the waves and helped him find his boogie board with had drifted off 1/3 mile in the rip current. No one else helped him and he would have drowned. I remember when a person did the same for me on the biggest day of the century when I was near drowning myself. Later, after paddling half a mile across the bay back to the beach, I noticed two heads floating in the rip current. As I got closer I saw they were two tourists with sunglasses and they were struggling against the current and being sucked out out to sea and big breakers and were going backwards. The husband could barely keep up himself, and the wife could not. I saw their predicament and paddled over to help. I towed the lady against a strong current and it took me quite a while. One of them would have drowned. They can't see the rip current that flows rapidly along the shore, and once in it, they can't get back to the beach. I felt good that day saving three people. It was a good karma day.

George Parkanyi writes:

Congratulations Jim. That's an amazing and commendable success. Some people don't have the opportunity to save a life through a whole lifetime, and you saved 3 in one day. I was involved in a water rescue situation many years ago under different circumstances, and though I was successful as well, I was struck by the fact that out of maybe 30 bystanders, no-one else thought to act– they just watched. I've often wondered about the psychology of that. Perhaps when there are too many people, everyone assumes that someone else has or will take action, and the individual imperative is suppressed. If each of those people were alone with no-one else around in the same situation, how many more would act? I think a larger proportion (because of the heightened sense of urgency when it's one on one, and there's no-one else to take charge).





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