Quick-thinking 9-year-old saves two kids from rip

Summer Stevenson, 9, used her boogie board to rescue two children who got into difficulty swimming at Peregian Beach.
Summer Stevenson, 9, used her boogie board to rescue two children who got into difficulty swimming at Peregian Beach. Geoff Potter

A NINE-year-old Peregian girl has helped saved the lives of two young children who got into trouble at her local beach.

Summer Stevenson was with her mother, Kim Armistead, swimming between the flags at Peregian Beach, when she and the two girls were caught in a rip.

Ms Armistead said Summer, who spends at least 10 hours a week surfing, immediately leapt to the rescue, using her boogie board to rescue the girls, aged 9 and 7.

Summer said the girls, who she had been playing with, both began panicking when they were caught in the rip.

She said she told the older of the two girls to hold onto the leash of her board before going over to retrieve the younger girl, who had begun to float away.

Ms Armistead and another man then helped pull the three of them in.

Ms Armistead said she was proud of her daughter, who had grown up with constant messages about surf safety being drilled into her.

"I have taught her the water safety side of it (surfing) and always to swim between the flags, always check behind you, told her if you get caught in a rip go sideways with it and catch the next wave in and then walk back down the beach," Ms Armistead said.

"It all happened fairly quickly so the lifeguards hadn't seen them.

"Summer knew instantly they were in a rip. She could identify they were going out with the rip.

"She said 'put your hands on my board'. They were young but they knew they were safe then. Summer paddled them back to shore.

"She is very cool headed because of her experience. She has been in the surf since she was a baby.

"I'm so proud of Summer. I didn't realise all that education had sunk in."

Ms Armistead said Summer's passion for surfing meant she had plenty of experience in the water and was physically strong enough to save the two girls.

"We spend a lot of time talking about rips and she does the board riders at Coolum," she said.

Surf Life Saving Queensland Sunshine Coast regional manager Aaron Purchase praised Summer for her quick action.

"It sounds like she did a really good job," Mr Purchase said. "It's pleasing to see people looking out for each other in the water while at the beach."

Topics:  beach editors picks peregian beach surf safety

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