From Rivals To Friends; Surf Sport At Its Best

There are many benefits to being involved in Surf Life Saving with skills for life and friendship chief among those. An incident at last month’s State Age Championships highlighted an outstanding act of sportsmanship between two rival competitors showcasing the very best of the movement.

Manly’s Miller Mason was competing in the heats of the U11 Surf Race and attempting to bodysurf on a wave when he hit his head at Blacksmiths Beach.

“I don’t really remember what happened next but I think I blacked out as I hit my head. It was really scary as I thought it was really bad. My first instinct was to try and get oxygen, but luckily Harry saw what happened and swam over to check on me,” said Miller Mason.

After seeing the incident unfold, fellow competitor Harry Leo (Swansea Belmont) ignored his position in the race with youngster making a beeline for the injured swimmer. He waited with him checking on his welfare until the water safety arrived.

“I was swimming in the race and I noticed Miller get hit hard by a wave. There was blood pouring out of his head and he was screaming for help. So I swam over and waited with him until the water safety got there,” Harry Leo remembers.

The simple act was very much appreciated by the young Manly athlete who praised his rival for his act of sportsmanship.

Harry Leo was modest about his efforts believing it was more important to make sure his fellow racer was alright rather than winning the race.

“I’m just glad I was able to help out and it’s great that he’s going to be ok,” he said. The story does have a happy postscript. Despite being in a neck brace for a week or so, Miller Mason has made a full recovery.

Harry Leo actually finished the race using his hometown knowledge of the surf and managed to qualify for the quarter final.

In a gesture of gratitude for his efforts Miller presented Harry with a gold medal he had won in the Surf Relay Events.

The two have declared that they will remain friends and are a true example of the skill, mateship and bravery instilled through Surf Life Saving.

“We will definitely remain friends it was really good of Harry to swim over and check that I was ok,” Miller Mason said.

Photograph - Manly's Miller Mason and Harry Leo (Swansea Belmont) cemented a firm friendship at the 2017 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships

Fri 7 Apr 2017