Last Saturday morning, 17 year old Zade Stone-Hinds was enjoying some hide-tide surfing at Sunny Cove in Santa Cruz, California.
The water was starting to get pretty rough so the teen decided to call it quits for the day. But soon after leaving the water, he saw someone struggling to stay above water in the rough waves.
Despite the 6-8 foot swells, Zade didn’t hesitate to jump back in the water and rush to the man’s rescue. “There was a lot of water moving and it was high tide. A lot of backwash,” Stone-Hinds said to KRON4.
The teen made it to the man and manages to pull him onto his surfboard, but the waves were so strong he ended up losing the board during the rescue. “I got him up on my board and let him breathe, just kind of relax and then some sets starting coming,” Zade shared.
Even with the lost board, Stone-Hinds managed to keep the man afloat until rescue personnel from Central Fire Protection District and Sean Rothwell, assistant harbor master, arrived.
“He was struggling a little bit, kinda couldn’t really tread or anything and he told me it was his first time he’s ever been in the ocean,” Stone-Hinds said.”
Thanks to Zade’s quick action, the victim was safely brought to shore sustaining only minor injuries. Harbor master Rothwell said that surfers often act as first-responders during ocean emergencies.
“We’ve had plenty of calls over the years where our local surfing community will render aid and we count on them quite a bit actually,” he said.
The local community is rightly calling Stone-Hinds a hero, with witness Kammy Ryckmann saying “He was amazing, he really was amazing.” The community is rallying together to raise funds so the young hero can purchase a new surfboard, which has the teen a little overwhelmed.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but uh I’m glad people can see what you should do just like I hope people know that when something is going on in public they can act on it and not leave people hanging,” Stone-Hinds said.
On being labeled a hero, Zade says he was simply doing what he was able to do. “I’m not going to hesitate on something like that, that I feel so comfortable doing,” he shared.