A top surf athlete has described having to rescue more than two dozen people from a dangerous rip moments after completing an exhausting Ironman competition.
Twenty five people were sucked into a “flash rip” at Maroubra about 4pm on Sunday.
The powerful currents dragged them away from the safety of shore and out into deeper water.
The frightening situation happened just as the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman series was finishing for the day, with athletes exhausted after competing in three races.
Pictures have emerged showing the dramatic scenes.
Dozens of athletes can been seen on boards and boats in the water heading to the swimmers.
Jackson Borg had just celebrated with his fellow athletes on the podium when they became aware that a mass rescue needed to take place for the tourists who had fallen into the rip.
He was one of eight athletes to answer the call for the rescue.
“We were talking ad all of a sudden looked out into the ocean and there was a whole group of people waving their arms, not what we expected but I’m glad that all of us were there,” he said on the Today Show.
Despite not expecting to have to perform a rescue after competing, Mr Borg wasn’t entirely surprised so many people got into trouble.
“With all the wind changes and all the swell changes that have been happening at the moment, so many flash rips are popping up so they must have just got caught and it sent a whole group of tourists out to sea,” he said.
“Just last weekend I had to do four or five [rescues] while on patrol,” he said.
Mr Borg said it was “lucky” the group weren’t too far from shore.
“Luckily our training is built for us to go out to shore, go out to the ocean real quick and assist with the rescue,” he said.
Surf Life Saving NSW rescue boat co-ordinator Tony Carle was among those who involved in the rescue but remained humble saying its what the athletes are trained to do.
“They reacted as lifesavers do, when the call goes out, we go into action,” he said.
“The gentlemen I rescued goes, ”It just happened so fast’.”
No one was seriously injured in the incident, however witnesses described “confronting” scenes as people lay unmoving on the sand while lifeguards treated them.
It comes less than 24 hours after an emergency unfolded a bit further north along the coast at Bronte Beach.
Four people became caught in the rip at Bronte Beach at around 8pm on Saturday evening.
A man and three women, all aged in their 30s, were pulled from the water and were taken to hospital.