I couldn’t leave him there to drown

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

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.

Pic­ture: Mark Scott

Max Tay­lor at Wam­beral Beach where he saved a drown­ing back­packer.

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