2019 COASTAL BRAVERY AWARDS

On 10th May 2019, Surf Life Saving WA honoured 23 individuals at the third annual Coastal Bravery Awards ceremony, hosted by Monika Kos at Mia Yellagonga (Woodside Energy).

His Excellency, The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia presented each of the recipients with their medallion and certificate.

 

The Gold Medallion for Exceptional Bravery is the highest honour, awarded to any person who performs a conspicuous and selfless act of exceptional bravery in circumstances of extreme peril.

Matthew Percy

April 15, 2018

It was around 8am on the 16th of April 2018 when a group of surfers, including Matthew, were enjoying a morning surf at Cobblestones surf break, north of Margaret River, when they spotted what appeared to be a shark in the water in their vicinity. 

With the group of surfers fleeing the water, upon realising that fellow surfer and friend Alex was being attacked, Matthew turned around and paddled directly back towards the shark and Alex, who had been bitten a number of times on the legs by what was later identified to be a great white of approximately 4 metres.

Demonstrating little regard for his own safety, Matthew stayed by Alex's side, shouting instructions before assisting him towards the shore and onto the nearby rocky ledge where, assisted by others, he applied leg ropes as tourniquets to Alex’s legs and then, using the surfboard as a stretcher, they carried him across the rocks to the carpark to await emergency services.

 

In nominating Matthew for this award, Alex said “He turned around and came back to aid me once he had already started fleeing the area, after a shark had been spotted and had now started biting me. He put himself at risk while trying to help me escape the situation. Most will get away as quickly as possible when a shark is in attack mode and he chose to stay and help.”

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Lifesavers Award

The Silver Medallion for Bravery – Lifesavers Award, is awarded to any member of Surf Life Saving Western Australia who performs a conspicuous and selfless act of bravery on or off the West Australian coast, recognising the application of important lifesaving skills learnt through their participation in surf life saving.

Lisa Julian

December 28, 2018

On the 29th of December 2018, Lisa was relaxing at her local beach, with her family off swimming. A member of the public approached Lisa, saying that someone had slipped off the rocks around the headland, into the water, and needed assistance. 

Due to conditions and distance, a rescue in the area would normally require the assistance of a Jet Ski or rescue boat. With neither of these at her disposal, Lisa grabbed a surf rescue board and headed out into the water. 

Out of the shelter of the cove, the strong winds and large swell made conditions treacherous, with waves washing up against the rocks off which the young man had slipped.

 

With conditions too dangerous for Lisa to paddle closer, and the boy making repeated unsuccessful attempts to climb back up the rocks, she convinced him to swim the short distance to her, where she was able to assist him onto the board to make the difficult journey back to the beach. 

Met on the shore by emergency services, onlookers expressed amazement at Lisa’s actions, which had seen her paddle in excess of one kilometre as, without hesitation, she went to the aid of the boy.

Lisa is a member of the Esperance Goldfields Surf Life Saving Club.