Report: Kelly Slater rescues big-wave surfer in Australia

Cocoa Beach native makes save at sea

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PORT CAMPBELL, Australia - One of Central Florida's most famous sons is grabbing headlines, but not for his legendary surf skills.

According to various news sources in Australia, Cocoa Beach surfer Kelly Slater played a pivotal role this week in rescuing a big-wave surfer who wiped out in 15- to 18-foot waves.

The incident -- reported by The Australian and  Newcastle Herald as well as Surfline.com -- took place at Port Campbell in Victoria, Australia, where surfer Russell Bierke, 19, was challenging the waves and was knocked unconscious by his surfboard.

Bierke was hospitalized, and reportedly is in stable condition.

Slater, 45, an 11-time world champion, recently completed his third event at the start of the 2017 World Surf League schedule where he was eliminated in the third round by Mick Fanning. 

Slater was joined by Ross Clarke-Jones and Ryan Hipwood, who pulled Bierke onto a ski and took him to shore, the website Swellnet reported.

It wasn’t Slater’s first attempt at a rescue. In January of 2016, Slater saved a West Australian mother and her 22-month-old son after a freak wave slammed into them in Hawaii.

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