Yesterday, Clair Roberts happened upon me in Bude and told me there had been a huge amount happening at Widemouth Bay. She agreed to let me share the news for those who weren’t aware. Clair is Mum to Billy, a lifeguard at Widemouth. She said:
I think Sam and I are super proud and impressed by Billy and his lifeguard colleagues, especially Ian Burges.
At Widemouth, the sea conditions were huge yesterday, with big 6-8ft fronts closing out on the banks.
A father and son were caught in a rip on an off shore bank and were getting pummelled. It was too dangerous to take the inshore rescue boat out because of the impact zone the pair were in, so Billy and Ian went out on rescue boards.
You need some power and fitness to be able to handle a rescue board at the easiest of times, but in these conditions, the fact that these incredible young men got out through such surf was a feat of endurance and superb fitness and skill. On arriving at the distressed pair, they picked up the couple. They had to paddle further out to sea to get away from the rogue waves before considering getting the casualties back to shore. At this point, they were some 200m out.
Catching a wave back in was not an easy choice as the surf was huge, double up, jacking up and dumping tonnes of water.
Billy explained the ride as going down the mine, catching a huge wave both him and the casualty hanging off the back of the board only to find that the wave doubled up and was yet to break, so powerful tonnes of water collapsed right over the top of them. He and Ian both brought their casualties back to shore in adverse conditions.
If we ever doubted the bravery and commitment of the younger generation, I can assure you our lads in Bude, who run our beaches are some of the bravest, most professional and dedicated in the country. TWO LIVES SAVED. Blimmin’ well done boys. Well proud of you. Oh, then there was a mass rescue of 11 as a sand bank collapsed…just another busy day.
Clair added that many of our wonderful RNLI lifeguards here in Bude are ‘home-grown’ by Bude Surf Life Saving Club. She said:
These boys became great, competent water men through Bude SLSC. It is Bude SLSC that trains and qualifies the young people before they are employed by the RNLI.
Indeed, we have a lot to be thankful for in Bude, that there is such a commitment to lifesaving and all the endurance and training that involves. I can only imagine the terror of being caught up in a situation like that, and was a literal lifesaver amazing that Ian and Billy had the stamina, and the presence of mind, to deal with extreme conditions. Well done guys. How darned good are Bude’s lifeguards?