Surfers Rescue Swimmers in Distress Off Rodeo Beach

Four Marin high school students rescued two swimmers struggling with high surf and a strong rip current on Friday afternoon off Rodeo Beach, fire officials said.

The four boys were surfing at the beach about 4:30 p.m. when they noticed the swimmers having trouble, according to Rick Racich, engineer with the Marin County Fire Department.

Wes Porter, a senior at Redwood High and his friend Jack Richardson, a junior at Sir Francis Drake High, had just finished surfing when they spotted the swimmers waving their arms and yelling for help.

While Porter and Richardson called 911, the two surfers still in the water quickly paddled toward the swimmers. Colby Paine, a senior at Saint Ignatius and Ray Holmberg, a junior at Drake High, noticed the swimmers were frightened and out of breath.

The two surfers had the swimmers hold onto their surfboards and formulated a plan to get them back to the beach through the high surf, Racich said.

They waited for a lull in the surf and the two surfers paddled their surfboards while the two swimmers held onto their ankles and swam at the same time.

It wasn't simple feat considering the size of the surf and rough ocean conditions, fire officials said. All four surfers are water polo players and members of the Stinson Beach Junior Lifeguard Program.

"Without a doubt these guys should be commended for their heroic efforts today," Racich said.

Both swimmers were evaluated by paramedics and released.

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