ONE SHOW JUST KEPT ON GOING
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.