On a windy Sunday lunchtime in November 2022, Cesar Mateus, who is a qualified RLSS UK Lifeguard (NPLQ and NVBLQ), was at Bournemouth beach training a group of cadets.

Cesar, a Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps Pool Training Officer, spotted a kite surfer who appeared to be struggling about 400m offshore. Cesar observed for a while, and decided he would get back into his wetsuit and take a rescue board and paddle out to see if the person needed help.

The kite surfer had become separated from his friends, and although he was managing to get up from time to time, this was getting less frequent and for shorter periods of time.  When Cesar got to the man, he found the man’s legs were entangled in the lines of the kiteboard and he was unable to free himself.

Cesar helped the man back to safety, allowing the wind, tide and currents to drift them along the beach to a point where they could come ashore safely.  It became apparent once ashore, that one of the kite surfer’s feet was blue from the restriction of the lines, and that the lines had to be cut.  It took almost 20 minutes of hacking and cutting to release his legs from the ropes.

Without Cesar’s measured actions and intervention, the outcome of this incident could have been very different.

A Certificate of Meritorious Action for Lifeguards was presented to Cesar at a surprise presentation following one of his club’s beach training evenings in July by Jill Bailey, Ambassador for the South and Chair of Wessex Branch.

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