THREE local surfers combined to rescue a young girl and two men who had been sucked out in a rip on the main beach at Wallabi Point, near Old Bar, on Thursday afternoon.
Jordan Worboys, Phil Jirman and Charlie Sansom braved the conditions to rescue the trio.
Jordan, Charlie and Phil were alerted to the drama by Wallabi resident, Jenny Reading. They understand the girl, aged about 10, was swept out in a rip. The men went to the girl's aid and kept each other afloat, but were unable to get back to shore.
"One man was the father of the little girl and he initially went to help her but was swept out too. Luckily, the second man went out with a body board and the three were able to float on it while they waited for help," explained Jenny.
Jenny said if it wasn't for the man with the body board, who was travelling past on his way back to Sydney and stopped over to check the surf conditions, the pair would have been in more trouble.
"They were out a fair way - about 150 to 200 metres. At first I couldn't see them from the beach,'' Jordan explained.
Charlie was first in the water after being given a board from Jenny, whose children own Saltwater Surf School. He rode the rip out thinking it would lead to the people, but they were nowhere to be seen.
"Jordan wasn't far behind, I thought maybe they'd gotten themselves back in but then he told me they'd drifted towards Saltwater, so he headed in that direction and I followed," Charlie recalled.
"I couldn't believe how far out they were and the way the sea was, you just couldn't see them."
Both estimate the surf was three to four foot, while the water was cold.
"The girl was shivering and panicking when I got there,'' Jordan said.
"The men were doing a good job with her, keeping her afloat and trying to calm her.
"She kept saying 'please take me in'. ''
Phil and Charlie joined Jordan within seconds. Jordan estimates it took them around 20 minutes to get the trio back to the beach, where police were waiting. He said once he secured the girl on the board he didn't encounter any great difficulties getting her to safety, despite the choppy conditions.
The rescuers didn't know the girl or the men. Jordan said all three were badly affected by the cold water and their ordeal.
"They were really shivering. The police wrapped them in blankets straight away,'' he said.
Charlie said Jenny Reading was instrumental in alerting people to the drama and was quick to offer the rescuers a towel and a cup of tea.
"It's a good community like that,'' Jordan added.
"Everyone helps everyone. And obviously being on the beach it's a surf community so people know what they're doing.''
Jordan headed back to Sydney on Friday night (July 4) where he currently lives and plays rugby league with North Sydney .
Charlie said it was a team effort.
"It was good to get them back in, you don't really think about it, you just do it.
"Who knows what could have happened, they were a long way out."
Do you know more about this story? We'd love to hear from you. Contact the Times on 6552 1988.