There are no lifeguards at Ocean Beach because there shouldn’t be any swimming in that churn of frigid fast-breaking waves that can pull you under so fast that nearby beachcombers would never know it happened.

The moment surfer Tony Barbero spotted a flash of red t-shirt and a boy floundering in the icy water, he knew the kid was in big trouble.

Barbero, a 17-year-old high school student and firefighter’s son, powered through the waves, grabbed the boy and pulled him up on his surfboard.

Afterward, he saw the boy’s uncle who was already face down in the surf.

(READ the story w/ photos in the San Francisco Chronicle)

Photo credit: Flickr-CC-mikebaird


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