Reef Ambassador Kai Otton and his father, Greg Otton, have come to the rescue of another father and son in waters off the New South Wales far south coast. See what Kai had to say about the incident below.
Reef: Do you surf with your Dad often?
Kai: I have grown up surfing with the old man but Im not down the coast enough these days to surf with him alot. We always go on little missions when Im in town but I spread the love with a big group of friends down here.
Reef: Is Bithry Inlet a beach close to where you both live?
Kai: Its not a consistent place to surf. Its a little lake mouth 15min north of Tathra, my home town. It rarely has a good bank. On this particular day I was out riding horses on my uncles property that runs along the lake.
Reef: Break it down, how were the waves and general ocean conditions on this particular day?
Kai: This particular week we have crazy tidal changes. 2.5 high down to 0.3 low. So on this day there was no real swell, maybe 2 to 3 feet but the tidal run out was like a rapid.
Reef: From what we have heard the 2 were only 100M from shore. That's a pretty far swim for a 7 year old but could the Dad even swim?
Kai: The area where the pair were originally swimming was up the lake in a perfectly calm region. Both could swim well, but they werent aware they had drifted into the outgoing current. The young boy made it to sure easily on his paddle ski. The dad had lost his paddle and been washed out to the breaking waves then back into the impact zone. He was only able to lie on his ski.
Reef: What kind of condition was the bloke in when you approached him? Was he super frantic or was he pretty subdued because he was so tired from treading water?
Kai: He was reasonably calm but made it clear to me he was gassed out. It was really hard for him to get on the ski. We kept getting pounded, by only small waves but they super powerful.
Reef: And the paddle back to shore?
Kai: Basically my good buddy came to his aid aswell. He paddled out a surfboard with a rope and towed the guy while I swam and pushed his ski. I ended up kind of surfing a white wash into some rocks with the guy on the ski.
Reef: Once on the beach everything good?
Kai: I kind of bailed quick, he looked fine, just tired. Its embarrissing to be rescued and I didnt want him to feel bad. His son ended up on the northern side of the lake mouth so a friend of mine went way up stream and paddled him back on a canoe to his family. He was shaken up obviously.