Kai Otton to the rescue in Tathra rip

THREE Tathra men, including professional surfer Kai Otton, have rescued a person caught in a rip at Bithry Inlet.

Kai, his father Greg and John Cremerius each played their role in saving a 40-year-old ACT man on Saturday.

The man and his nine-year-old son were kayaking when the vessel capsized.

While the child was able to swim to shore, his father was unfortunately caught in a rip.

However, quick thinking from the Ottons and Mr Cremerius helped save the man’s life.

All three men played their roles in the rescue, which occurred about 100 metres out to sea.

Greg acted as a spotter, Kai paddled out on a surf board to grab the man while Mr Cremerius had a surf ski, effectively dragging the pair back to shore.

Kai put the man on his board and pushed, while Mr Cremerius towed them.

Speaking to the BDN on Monday, Kai said a tidal change caused the rip to become strong.

“The man was in trouble, but luckily his son got to the edge,” Kai said.

“His dad was stuck in the rip and it was not looking good.”

However, Kai also downplayed the incident, saying everyone involved remained calm.

“It was not treacherous behind the rip so I knew if he could stay afloat, we would be sweet,” he said.

“It was dangerous in the rip, but not to sea so I was not panicked.”

Batemans Bay Police Inspector Greg Flood said according to witness reports, the father and son had fallen out of their kayak.

Inspector Flood said the man and his son were kayaking in choppy conditions and struggling to keep the vessel afloat.

Police were called and attended the scene at 3.05pm, with Inspector Flood saying many people at Bithry were not sure what happened.

The man was reunited with his family and no medical attention was required.

Kai said he was happy to leave straight after the rescue.

“I didn’t hang around – I’ve seen rescues before and the victim can feel a bit embarrassed.

“But he seemed pretty mellow.”

Saturday was a case of Kai, Greg and Mr Cremerius being in the right place at the right time.

The Ottons had both driven out to Bithry Inlet at different times on Saturday to check out the surf conditions.

After deeming it too rough, the pair instead decided to swim in Wapengo Lake.

“We got lucky – if we had not been there for a surf, you never know what might have happened,” Kai said.

“It was just a cruisey swim and look what it turned into.”

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