'No hero, just in the right place'
AARON Hogben claims he’s no hero – he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
But the woman he rescued from a fierce Diggers Beach rip wants him recognised with a bravery award for saving her life.
Aaron, 41, is only a novice surfer but his quick-thinking and cool head ensured Sydney visitor Kathy Slatyer made it back to the beach safely.
The fitness trainer and martial arts and boxing teacher says his fitness proved vital in Tuesday’s dramatic events.
“I was surfing by myself and I saw this lady and I knew she was caught in a rip. Just as I got to her she started going under,” Aaron said.
“I grabbed her by the arm and got her to hang onto my board. I said ’trust me, we’re going out to sea, we can’t fight this’.
“I wanted to make sure she wasn’t panicking.”
Aaron said they were behind large breaking waves and as they were trying to make it back to shore they chatted about life in general.
“She stayed calm and that was just as important a factor in her being saved as it was me being there. We started to head back in using the waves and that was a bit of a fight.”
It was Aaron’s first rescue and he reckons it was a big wake up call for him.
“It made me realise how dangerous that rip is (at the southern end of the beach). I’ve had a few surf lessons and I can swim and I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time.
“I don’t consider myself to be a hero. There are heaps of other heroes out there who have done more than me.
“They’re doing stuff every day that gets no recognition at all.
“I was saying a prayer or two to help me get through it and I said one at the end as well.”
When Kathy Slatyer told us her story in Wednesday’s Advocate she knew her rescuer only as Aaron and hoped he would read her thank-you.
He certainly did but he admits to being a little embarrassed.
“I’m only a beginner surfer but I do understand the beach a little bit.”