ONE SHOW JUST KEPT ON GO­ING

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV -

Ten years ago when Bruce “Hoppo” Hop­kins was asked to be a part of Bondi Res­cue he never en­vis­aged the global suc­cess the show would find.

“Orig­i­nally it was go­ing to be a one-hour spe­cial,” he ex­plains. “Then it ended up be­ing eight episodes that the first year. I sup­pose we all thought we’d get one or two years out of it.”

In­stead the ex­ploits of the surf life­savers of Syd­ney’s Bondi Beach gripped view­ers so much that not only has it be­come a sta­ple on Aus­tralian TV, it’s been syn­di­cated around the world.

“We get recog­nised a fair bit now over­seas, es­pe­cially in the UK” Hop­kins ad­mits. “Some peo­ple are like, ‘What are they do­ing here?’ and will come up to ask. But oth­ers recog­nise your face and will ask if they’ve gone to school with you.”

While the de­mands of the job are get­ting tougher as he gets older — Hop­kins is now 37, hav­ing started life­sav­ing at 22 — the head life­guard says he has no plans to quit any time soon.

“You can only keep go­ing as long as your body holds up and you don’t get too many in­juries,” he says. “But I’m not look­ing at go­ing any­where.”

As well as the love of his job on the beach, Hop­kins says the ed­u­ca­tion as­pect of the show is one he rel­ishes.

“We try to train peo­ple in surf safety but also to ed­u­cate them in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions,” he says. And those lessons are hav­ing real-life con­se­quences.

“One story that stays with me is from a lady in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory. A two-yearold child fell into the pool and was at the bot­tom when she pulled him out. She’d never been trained in re­sus­ci­ta­tion but she’d al­ways watched the show.

“She said that if it wasn’t for the show she prob­a­bly would have just pan­icked. In­stead she did enough to keep him go­ing un­til the paramedics got there and he ended up sur­viv­ing.”

Now that’s what we call job sat­is­fac­tion.

Bruce "Hoppo" Hop­kins of Bondi Res­cue.

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