Big wave legend Eric Rebiere saved three people from almost certain death yesterday, after they had been swept into the ocean at the front beach at Nazaré. In his blog ericrebiere.com, he recounts the dramatic rescue, in which Garrett McNamara also played a crucial role.
“I woke up dark time as always (cause my son wake up time is 6am), and did not know whether to stay home and surf the Cave or go to Nazaré. I knew a big young crew will be charging the Cave, and I wound be more in the way, but my friend Joao de Macedo called from Nazare saying the Cave is to dangerous. It then came in my head what Shane Dorian told me when he came here, “The barrel in that wave is not worth the danger that comes with it”. With that in mind I went to Nazare and it wasn’t that good. Although I did see Macedo got the barrel of the day in the morning. A solid 8 feet double up. I saw it as I saw cause i was eating shit under that wave and amping for him. After that he left to comment at the world tour contest in Peniche and I went to eat at Celeste restaurant, a favourite.
After a great meal, Dino Casimiro, local rep from local council called saying the waves were on fire so I start to head back. Just as I jumped in the car I saw a group of people calling for help on the shore, almost in front of the restaurant. I knew was something bad already, as there were really panicking.
I raced down there and saw three 3 people out drowning. I went to the first one, one old man who was almost losing consciousness. The shore on the beach there is like a skate half pipe, and the waves break with all their power right on the beach. It often happens that people who are walking and not pay attention lose their feet and get washed down the bank and into the waves.
And as most of them are not used to the ocean, they tend to panic which leads to drowning. I got the old man and another young lady almost on the beach and saw people already coming to help them, so I turned my attention to the one outside. I could believe it when i saw the body was face down.
I jumped in the water and swam as fast as I could, thinking I could already be too late. I got there and turn the body facing up and start to swim backward with her face already foaming a lot. .
Just as I almost reached the beach, another set came and I lost her, but she got smashed by wave to the beach and the crowd got her. Most of the people did not know what to do so I knew we should turn her at the side and start to do the SPR. Then Garrett McNamara arrived and with his better knowledge and skill he continued the first aid until she was breathing by herself. And that moment was the happiness of my morning today!”