A man who came to the rescue of two teenage boys caught in a rip says he felt a "bit daunted" as he went into the surf.
Pukekohe sales representative Brendon Pooley was eating fish and chips on Karioitahi Beach last night with his wife and four children when he was approached by a teenager who said his two friends had been caught in a rip.
The three Pukekohe boys, one aged 16 and two aged 17, had entered the water about 7.30pm and were still swimming at dusk when two of them were swept out to sea.
The third managed to swim back to shore.
Pooley said it was a split-second decision to run into the surf with his body board while his wife drove to the top of a nearby hill to get phone reception to raise the alarm with police.
"I felt a bit daunted because the waves were big and crashing," he told ONE News.
"I just thought it was a bit hopeless and I thought it was a waste of time."
After yelling into the darkness for 15 minutes he heard a boy call back and saw one teenager floating on his back and another waving for help.
When he saw the two heads beyond the waves he reassured them and told them to "just keep calm".
He managed to paddle over to them and gave one teenager his boogie board.
The other teenager managed to swim back to shore.
The conditions at the beach last night were windy, and by the time Pooley got the third boy safely back to shore he had been swimming in the dark for nearly fifty minutes.
Medical staff later told Pooley the boys had been in the water for three hours and the boy he dragged to shore had blood clots in both of his legs and would have lasted only another 10 minutes.
'Beyond the call of duty'
Volunteers from the local surf club who were waiting on the shore are hailing Pooley a local hero.
Surf Lifesaving Kariotahi's Jim Coe said, "he really went out beyond the call of duty to go and rescue a fellow human so he did very very well".
The swimmers were checked by surf lifesavers and did not require hospitalisation.
Auckland Police said Pooley's actions last night almost certainly saved at least one of the three young men from drowning and have put him forward for a bravery award.
Pooley laughed off any suggestion of his actions being heroic.