I couldn’t leave him there to drown
BEHIND the cheeky smile and carefree swagger was a boy ready to risk his life for another.
Max Taylor was only 11 years old when he jumped into the surf to save a drowning British backpacker caught in a deadly rip at Wamberal beach on the Central Coast in March.
It was getting dark and no one was around, but Max didn’t hesitate. He paddled out to the man, about 150m from shore, but struggled to support him.
“I got really tired, but I couldn’t just leave him there,” he said.
Max, now 12, got off his board and pushed it over to the panicked swimmer, who repeatedly told Max that he’d lost his goggles in the water.
After he had the backpacker floating on the board, Max kicked from behind to steer them back to shore.
“He was lying on his back until I told him to turn face down and hold on,” Max said, drawing on his swimming experience at Nippers with Wamberal SLSC.
An off-duty lifeguard, Harry Carpenter, saw Max’s efforts and swam out to help him.
“Dad didn’t know where I was or what was going on until he walked over and saw me shaking hands with the guy I saved,” Max said. “It made me feel proud.”
Max’s mother Vicky said she became emotional after hearing what had happened.
“Max put himself in danger and didn’t think of his own safety. He has such a heart of gold,” she said.
Surf Life Saving NSW has nominated Max for a News Corp Australia Pride of Australia Award.
“Max has demonstrated experience and maturity beyond his years,” SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce said.
“He responded quickly to the situation and his swift actions saved a life.”
PRIDE OF AUSTRALIA HONOURS ORDINARY AUSTRALIANS FOR EXTRAORDINARY ACTS OF BRAVERY, SERVICE OR CHARITY. NOMINATE AN UNSUNG HERO AT PRIDEOFAUSTRALIA. COM. AU, UNTIL OCTOBER 21.
Max Taylor at Wamberal Beach where he saved a drowning backpacker.