Mum would rather another crash than getting caught in a rip
A MOTHER of two is grateful to be alive after being pulled from an unseen rip.
Kathy Haines, a former Surf Life Saver, went for a swim at Woolgoolga Main Beach on Saturday with her two boys to cool down after a day cycling.
The beach was un-patrolled but Ms Haines, who has lived at Woolgoolga for 38 years, thought she knew the beach well enough to ventured in.
"It's usually patrolled and a safe beach but on Saturday it wasn't," she said.
When getting out, Ms Haines and her two sons got dragged out in a rip.
"The waves kept coming over and over," she said. "They kept coming over our heads, they weren't pushing us in."
Ms Haines, who previously had a head-on crash on the highway, said she would rather face another crash than get caught in another rip.
"Honestly, this is worse," she said. "It takes a couple of seconds to get exhausted."
She was rescued by a pair of backpacking boardriders. "All I could do was hug them and thank them," she said.
Ms Haines said she would never again go swimming at an un-patrolled beach and would have a board nearby.
Coffs Harbour Lifeguard team leader Greg Hackfath echoed this point of having a nearby board or suitable flotation device when swimming at an un-patrolled beach.
But he warned it was best to swim between the flags and follow lifeguard or lifesavers instructions with this week's big seas.