An awkward dive for a flag could have been a "severe emergency" for a lifesaver in South Africa - but lucky for him, Tauranga "angel" Kendall Stevenson was to the rescue.

Ryle de Morny dislocated his shoulder while competing in the Open Flags event at the International Surf Rescue Challenge at North Beach, South Africa at the weekend.

Stevenson was on the sidelines videoing her own team when she realised she could be of service, walked up to de Morny and gave him a helping hand.

"He just dived for the flag awkwardly and the American athlete fell hard on top of his shoulder making it dislocate.

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"He had a bunch of medics around him but I didn't think he was that comfortable and nobody there was too sure on what to do."

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She was quietly confident in her abilities, given she is the lead physiotherapist for the Black Fins and Black Ferns sevens development squad, and the director of Bespoke Physiotherapy and Health.

"But when someone has a bit more muscle bulk you need a bit more force to pull it back in.

"We were quite lucky to get it because if you don't get it in within a couple of minutes normally they do have to go to the hospital and it can be traumatic.

"If you're in the position where you can help them I always think that is the right thing to do."

De Morny was over the moon and has described Stevenson as an "angel" to international media.

"This complete godsend of an angel came walking out of the crowd and just took charge," de Morny told the Independent Online.

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He said the two minutes it took to set his shoulder back in place was a potential career-saving move.

"There was a real risk of nerve damage and damage to the labrum. If it had not been set back in place it could have been a severe emergency, so I can't be grateful enough," he said.