Teen surfer saves drowning man in California

By Darby Jones May 11, 2021
Zade Stone-Hinds was surfing during high tide in Santa Cruz, California with waves reaching six to eight feet when he spotted a man struggling to stay afloat.

It was high tide at Santa Cruz’s Sunny Cove with waves reaching heights of six to eight feet.

Zade Stone-Hinds, 17, was just getting ready to leave the beach when he spotted a man struggling to stay afloat. He did not hesitate, and immediately jumped in to save the stranger.

“I’m not going to hesitate on something like that, that I feel so comfortable doing,” he said.

He jumped in to rescue the man who later told Stone-Hinds that it was his first time ever being in the ocean.

“I got him up on my board and let him breathe, just kind of relax and then some sets started coming,” Stone-Hinds said.

Stone-Hinds initially secured the man onto his surfboard, but because of the treacherous waters, he lost his board and had to support the man on his own body.

“There was a lot of water moving and it was high tide. A lot of backwash,” Stone-Hinds said.

Stone-Hinds successfully rescued the man who, thankfully, only sustained a few minor injuries.

Sean Rothwell, assistant harbor manager, said, “We’ve had plenty of calls over the years where our local surfing community will render aid, and we count on them quite a bit actually.”

Witnesses to the rescue have shared kind words regarding Stone-Hinds. “He was amazing, he really was amazing,” said Kammy Ryckman.

People are now pitching in to buy Stone-Hinds a new surfboard.

“It’s a little overwhelming, but I’m glad people can see what you should do, just like I hope people know that when something is going on in public, they can act on it and not leave people hanging,” he said.