Point Loma High senior rescues two drowning swimmers
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 01/13/21 - 07:15 AM | 14285 views | 4 4 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A spectator captured this photo of heroic PLHS student Tyler Badet as he rescued a drowning woman at the foot of Osprey Street along Sunset Cliffs. COURTESY PHOTO
A spectator captured this photo of heroic PLHS student Tyler Badet as he rescued a drowning woman at the foot of Osprey Street along Sunset Cliffs. COURTESY PHOTO
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Point Loma High School senior Tyler Badet surfs every day of the year "unless it is raining." And on Jan. 6, two adults caught in high surf and swirling currents are lucky the skies were clear. 

Badet, 18, was among a group of surfers along Sunset Cliffs at the foot of Osprey Street, also the location of the well-known and illegal cliff-jumping site known as The Arch. 

Badet calls himself a "pretty advanced" surfer and competes at multiple levels. Others now call him "hero."

"The surf that day was windy and choppy, the waves were overhead at five to seven feet," Badet recalls. "Osprey has a lot of water that moves around and it was high tide, making it pretty complicated."

In fact, video taken at the incident shows solid churning foam from the shore to breakers.

Between waves, he heard a splash. Glancing over at the small cove where cliff-jumpers land, Badet saw two people in the water and immediately sensed they were in trouble. 

"People started yelling and pointing when a set came through. It crashed over them and pulled them under as they were trying to climb onto the rocks and get out of the water," Badet said. "They popped back up and the lady started flailing her arms and calling for help."

Badet sprang into rescue mode as other surfers watched.

"I paddled to the guy and pulled him up onto the rock and then reached the lady," Badet said, "and kind of floated with her for a while." 

"But she wouldn't let go every time I got her near the rocks. She was really freaked and had a kind of death-grip on my board. I don't think she knew how to swim as well and couldn't keep herself afloat. She didn't say anything to me when I asked her how she was doing." 

Moments later, as he kept the woman safely afloat in the water, Badet heard the sound of approaching sirens.

One lifeguard grabbed the resistant woman with a rescue can and another lifeguard on a jet ski arrived to take her to safety. The man was still safe on the rocks when lifeguards arrived and Badet thinks he also may have been taken away on the jet ski.

Witnesses on social media praised Badet's heroic actions and noted he used his surfboard and did not attempt to grab the pair during the rescue. 

"I was a member of Junior Lifeguards," he said, "and that is where I did practice rescues. We were taught to stay calm and we learned never to go up and hand yourself over to someone in distress because they usually take you down with them."

Other surfers did not respond to the pair in distress.

"I'm glad people recognized what I did," Badet said, "but I never thought I'd be called a hero while doing something I enjoy."

After leaving the water, lifeguards thanked Badet and told him he definitely saved the woman's life and probably the man's also. But they did not even take his name.

Badet has been a member of PLHS's acclaimed Surf PE program for all four of his years at the school. Teacher/coach Mike Estanol was very proud of his student.

"Tyler's actions were heroic!" Estanol said. "This is what PLHS Surf PE is all about, giving back to our community!"

As for The Arch, is Badet a participant in the prohibited jumping?

"I have never considered jumping off The Arch," Badet says, "I grew up here and have seen the multiple rescues and injuries that have happened down there. But especially that day. Getting out of the water is a stressful situation there."

Two people are alive today because of Badet's efforts. And give an assist to Mother Nature for the lack of rain that day.

Comments
(4)
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mrbenz
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January 25, 2021
Ty- You rock!!!
Carla712
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January 25, 2021
I don't know either one of these youth, but I feel very proud of them as if they were mine. What Courage they exhibited. They were able to help. Bravo, you two are Heros!
Mrs. Goncalves-Paine
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January 18, 2021
Way to go Tyler Badet--Thank you for being an outstanding citizen. Proud of you!
Brad Jones
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January 14, 2021
They were saved by one of the best young men Point Loma has ever seen. Way to go T Money!
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