Troy, 13, saves 20 in first summer
AT JUST 13, Troy Ottaway has already proven he’s worth his salt as a surf lifesaver.
In only his first summer of lifesaving, the Gold Coast youngster has just chalked up his 20th rescue.
His heroics have included plucking children from raging rips, helping rescue a young girl smashed against rocks and even responding to a man bitten by a deadly sea snake.
“It’s great to be able to help people and try and get the surf safety message across,” Troy said. “People you rescue come up and say ‘thankyou, thankyou, thankyou’ a million times. They can’t believe how quick it takes to get into trouble in the surf.”
Troy didn’t enter lifesaving through the typical Nippers pathway.
Instead, a schoolmate encouraged him to join Mermaid Beach Surf Club to relieve weekend boredom and get him off the X-Box.
He did his junior surf rescue certificate with the club and has taken to lifesaving like the proverbial duck to water.
“My first rescue was two little boys who got sucked out in a really fast rip,” he said.
“I did my 20th rescue last Saturday which was a young brother and sister swept out in another rip. I got them on to my rescue board and then one of the guys came out with a rescue tube to support the boy so I could get his sister to the beach quicker.”
As well as keeping watch over Mermaid Beach, Troy also helps boost patrols at hectic Surfers Paradise and Rainbow Bay.
“He’d be at the beach every day if I let him,” his proud mum Letitia said.
Mermaid Beach Surf Club operations manager Grant Brown said Troy would inspire other youngsters.
“Surf lifesaving is there for the community and it’s great to have kids like Troy who are our future leaders.”
Troy said: “It feels good to save people but I just wish more would learn to swim between the flags.”
Mermaid Beach surf lifesaver Troy Ottaway may only be 13 but has already performed 20 rescues in his first summer on duty.