Rookie lifeguard says give Surf a hand

Sunday, 29 December 2013

One year ago today, rookie lifeguard Will White and his cousin Sergio Schuler were being hailed as heroes after saving a drowning man's life near Waihi.

One year on, and now the youngest ever recipients to receive the RSA's prestigious Anzac of the Year Award, the boys are encouraging Kiwis to support the Surf Life Saving Summer Appeal.

On December 29, 2012, aged just 12 years-old, Will and Sergio half-dragged, half-encouraged Vincent Shao out of rough surf near Bowentown.

They were on the beach when they saw Vincent struggling in a rip with his head just above the water. He raised his hand and was calling for help. Both strong swimmers, Will and Sergio swam out to Vincent and encouraged him to swim ashore, eventually dragging him in.

In April, they were honoured for their courage and selfless commitment for saving Mr Shao' life by being awarded the Anzac of the Year Award.

The boys are now urging Kiwis to show their support for the Surf Life Saving Summer Appeal.

This season around 4,000 volunteer lifeguards will spend over 200,000 hours keeping a watchful eye on over 80 beaches throughout the country, helping to make them a safer place for Kiwis and their families to enjoy their summer.

During an average season, over 1,200 people are rescued from life-threatening situations. Last year that number was over 1,600.

Surf Life Saving's Summer Appeal is on now and runs through until February 2, 2014 including a national street collection on January 31, 2014.

Will says you don't have to be a lifeguard to be a lifesaver. "Look out for collectors on the streets on January 31 and you too can help save people's lives." Proceeds raised will go towards training lifeguards, the purchase of essential rescue equipment and extending services to meet the growing needs of our communities.

Surf Life Saving is an essential rescue service as well as a charity that needs the public's support to raise money to help lifeguards save more lives on New Zealand's beaches this summer.

There are lots of ways to get involved. Look out for collectors on the streets on January 31 or;

  • Text 'SURF' to 933 to make an instant $3 donation 
  • Make an online donation at
  • Set up an online fundraising page
  • Contact your local Surf Life Saving Club to get involved

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823