At Iluka, on the north coast of Australia’s New South Wales, the beautiful ocean surf belies a hidden danger.
The area is loved by surfers who enjoy its exposure to waves from the southeast that regularly form double-ups.
Stronger and more unpredictable than regular waves, they can take even experienced surfers by surprise. When a young kangaroo got swept up in one, there were only moments to act.
Fortunately, there was a lifeguard on the scene — 17-year-old Lillian Bee Young, with less than a week of professional experience under her belt!
But Young was anything but off guard when the incident happened. She’d been watching the joey carefully, and when he disappeared beneath a wave, she drew on her years of surfing experience to head out and find him.
Grabbing her rescue board, she ran towards the beach, where the kangaroo was barely able to keep its head above the waves. “I was trying to figure out how, if I needed to, get it on the board … but also it’s a wild animal … even though you’re helping I wouldn’t want it to hurt me or make it more stressed out,” she explained in an interview with ABC Sydney.
Fortunately, she was able to help the kangaroo by guiding it back to the shore. “It was quite a windy day, very choppy,” Young told the outlet. “I paddled behind it and sort of guided it into the beach.”
Back on shore, she was greeted by cheers and even some grateful appreciation from the kangaroo.
“It was quite special,” she explained. “There were people cheering and clapping … and then [the kangaroo] was just sitting there up in the bushes, almost, I thought, as a thank you … it was really serene.”
Young is finishing high school this year and plans to become a professional surfer in the future. Watch the rescue video below!Whizzco