Rescues prompt awareness talks

A SERIES of recent rescues at much-loved surf spot The Farm at Killalea State Park has sparked calls for greater education of those regularly visiting the area.

Park Trust deputy chairman and surfer Chris Homer has also warned the public of the hazards associated with surfing and swimming at The Farm, which is essentially unpatrolled.

According to Warilla's Mr Homer and fellow Southbridge Boardriders club committee member Craig Ryall, beach users engaged in three rescues of individuals on Saturday, January 4.

Barrack Point resident Mr Ryall assisted with the reported third rescue, of a young female swimmer aged about 13 years, which he said occurred about 2pm.

"There was a girl out there in trouble; they were out near the back of the point and the rip was running really hard," he said.

"A guy had already put her on his board and was trying to swim and push her in, but weren't making any progress.

"I paddled out, said, 'grab hold of my leg rope' and tried to paddle and tow her in.

"We weren't getting any further, so a guy from Southbridge Boardriders, he caught a wave over and gave us a hand.

"Between the two of us, we got her further out of the rip.

"She was freaking out . . . [It was] just reassuring her it would be all right, concentrating on getting out of the rip."

Mr Ryall said those with less ocean awareness didn't properly comprehend its power.

"She probably just went out a little too far, ended up in the hole and was gone," he said.

"It was the first one [rescue] I've been involved in in a long time.

"[But there's] that much potential for it to happen again; the number of people that come here, especially during holiday periods."

Mr Homer is investigating solutions. These included discussions with park management and Surfing Australia about running courses teaching surfers how to effectively rescue an individual with a surfboard.

"Teaching them about our specific beaches and danger spots; there are definite danger spots [at The Farm]," he said.

"There's a permanent rip there, called the alley rip near the rocks.

"If you haven't encountered that before, it's quite dramatic.

"You've got surfers here nearly all the time. To have a few more skills up their sleeves would help make things safer.

"All beaches can be dangerous when the swell's up; there are dangers here that will always be here."

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