Bali lacking Bondi’s saving grace
RYAN ‘‘Whippet’’ Clark and Tom Bunting have spent the past five years rescuing swimmers at Bondi Beach.
On this occasion, however, the boys are in Bali and they’re struggling.
A Frenchwoman and her two sons are caught in one of Kuta’s famous rips and as spectators watch from the beach, the lifeguards spring into action.
In Bali, they don’t have the stateof-the-art equipment usually at their disposal in Sydney. There are no jet skis, paddle boards, spinal boards, oxygen tanks and motorbikes.
Bunting, 27, who is studying to become a chiropractor, and former Home and Away regular Clarke, 24, take to the water with only a tube.
They face the toughest rescue conditions of their careers and, to add to the pressure, it’s all being caught on film for Bondi Rescue spin-off, Bondi Rescue: Bali.
‘‘All the resources we associate with professional lifeguarding back at Bondi you don’t have here,’’ Bunting says. ‘‘All you have is your two hands and your wits to basically manage the beach.’’
The pair, along with colleagues Kristian Yates, Anthony Carroll, Andrew Reid and Dean Gladstone, are in Bali working with their Indonesian counterparts on an exchange of skills and knowledge.
To patrol the 1km Bondi stretch the lads sit at a central control tower. In Kuta, there are five posts spread along a 5km stretch of sand. Until recently, when the team used two motorbikes, it was a case of running from post to post when someone was in trouble.
‘‘I did a rescue the other day and by the time I got there I had run 2km and I was beat,’’ Yates says.
‘‘The only reason we knew something was going on was because we saw the circle of death around the two girls who had drowned and been dragged in.
‘‘When the ambulance came, it was nothing like back home. The best way to describe it was like an ice cream truck.’’
Bali bathing: Bondi lifesavers Ryan Clark and Tom Bunting with Bali lifeguard Marcello Lolot.