Two Boys Nominated for Life Saving Award for Heroic Water Rescue

Will White and Sergio Schuler save fisherman
New Zealand beach picture by Tatiana Gerus.

Two gifted young swimmers made the news last week for a selfless and heroic rescue in New Zealand.

Off the coast of the beautiful Bowentown Beach, 32-year-old Vincent Shao had set some crab pots and ran into some trouble on his way to check them. The crab pots were about 100 feet from the coast, but as Vincent was getting close, a strong rip current pulled him much further out to sea than he was comfortable with. Vincent wasted a lot of energy trying to get back to shore as he was swimming against the current.

Sergio Schuler and Will White, two twelve-year-old cousins out at the beach for a day of surfing had not gotten into the water yet when they saw Vincent waving his arms.

“We saw the guy struggling so we thought we needed to help him so we went out and tried to get him to come back in …” Sergio told the New Zealand Herald.

How to escape rip currents
How to escape rip currents

Will has been a member of the Waihi Beach surf lifesaving club for four years, so even at his young age he knew exactly what Vincent needed to do to get back to shore.

Rips are long, narrow water currents that result from water that builds up near the shore from waves made by hitting underwater sandbars. The excess water then gets strongly pulled back out to sea through the channel of least resistance, usually through the deepest sections of sandbars. See the illustration to the left, or this picture to understand this better. To escape one, you swim perpendicular to the shore to get out of the head of the current, otherwise you’d be swimming into the path of greatest resistance.

After discovering that Vincent really was in trouble, Will sent his cousin Sergio back to the shore to get help. Will then did his best to coach Vincent on the proper path to get back to the shore. This was not easy for Vincent, as he had used almost all of his energy swimming into the strong current and was now in a losing battle with the waves.

“When I almost gave up, the boy gave me hope,” Vincent told news website He continued, “You can see the hope there and you will try your best to survive even though you are very tired. That’s why I think the boy, Will, really helped. I want to say thank you to him. I’d say he has a bright future. He just stayed with me and told me what to do.”

The boy gave me hope. -Vincent Shao

Near the shore and slowly following Will, they both met Sergio who worked with his cousin to drag Vincent to the sand. Sergios mother called an ambulance as Vincent collapsed from exhaustion on the beach. Vincent was fine a few hours later and wants to return to the beach and personally thank his heroic young rescuers.

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Will and Sergio’s bravery was recognized by the Waihi Beach Lifeguard president Dave Litton. Dave told, “We’re really proud of both the boys. It’s an example of what can be achieved with even just a little bit of surf training.”

Dave has nominated the two boys for the esteemed Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Rescue Of The Month award which I’m sure they’ll win.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you can call on Archangel Gabriel for help. Among many other things, Gabriel is in charge of the element of water in God’s good creation we all live in. Nixsa, the noble Elemental King of Water is under Gabriel’s command and is the spiritual source of the physical water around us everywhere.

As our physical reality is a reflection of the spiritual one, spiritual solutions are often the best way to fix our worldly problems. This applies not only to problems like Vincent Shao being swept away from the safe shore into deep water, but also for the problems humanity faces everyday. God is the solution to all of our problems, we just need to ask.

Story Sources: New Zealand Herald,, Huffpost. Picture: Tatiana Gerus, Wa.govNOAA