Pride of NZ: Hero with cool head

By Monica Holt

Despite rough seas Wade Kelly rushed into the water to help

A top bloke is how Anton Randell describes the surfer who helped rescue him and three others in rough conditions at a Hawkes Bay beach.

Mr Randell nominated Wade Kelly in the Bravery and Heroism section of the Pride of New Zealand Awards for the rescue near the Waimarama Surf Lifesaving Club last November.

"The one thing that struck me is that Wade said anyone would have gone in to help, but the reality is it was so rough, not many people would have," Mr Randell said.

The drama happened on a sunny Sunday and Mr Kelly had just come in from a surf as the water was "chopping up a bit".

He was kicking a ball around with friends when someone ran over and said "can anyone swim?" Mr Kelly immediately got his wetsuit back on, grabbed his surfboard, and headed back out to the surf where Mr Randell and his wife Kirsty, 10-year-old son Josh, and Josh's friend Jaimie Nichols, 12, were in difficulties.

"They were very distressed and there was a lot of panic," Mr Kelly said.

Mr Randell says the situation was "pretty terrifying" but Mr Kelly managed to keep a cool head throughout the 45-minute rescue.

The pair have kept in contact.

"We did meet up with the family and have a barbecue and a bit of a catch up for closure about the day. They are lovely people," Mr Kelly said.

Voting is now open for the TSB Bank People's Choice Award. The Herald will profiling each of the 24 national finalists. Voting closes 11.59pm on September 7, with the awards to take place on September 10. Decide who you think is the most deserving. You are only able to vote once, so choose wisely. You can register your vote here.

* For more awards information, visit: prideofnzawards.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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