Troy, 13, saves 20 in first sum­mer

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - GREG STOLZ

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.”

Pic­ture: GLENN HAMPSON

Mer­maid Beach surf life­saver Troy Ot­t­away may only be 13 but has al­ready per­formed 20 res­cues in his first sum­mer on duty.

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