Heroic surfer saves man

Holland Mulder, along with three boys with boogie boards, swam out to rescue a man caught in a current in Cape Lookout.

Netarts Oceanside Rural Fire Protection District responded to a notification on Tuesday, Aug. 13 that a man was pulled out into a current at Cape Lookout Beach & State Park.

“He had been out waist-deep in the surf with his wife and son when he got caught in the current,” Fire Chief Tim Carpenter said.

His wife took their son and ran to the beach. She went back in to try to save him but wasn’t able to, as the current was too fast. She ran back to the beach where she yelled for help.

According to Carpenter, Portland resident Holland Mulder swam out with her surfboard along with three boys with boogey boards. Molder said that she was on the beach with a group of friends when someone asked to borrow one of their boogey boards. Carpenter believes the boys were from a swim team in Florida. Molder saw the man and believed he had been floating for a while.

“The waves were about seven feet,” Mulder said.

No one could get out there to help the man. One of the boys tried, said Molder, but the tide took him to far in the opposite direction.

Mulder swam back to the beach to grab another boogey board for the man to grab a hold of.

“We need calm waters,” Mulder said to a friend.

As soon as Mulder went back in the water, the waves went completely flat. She started paddling up to the man, who wasn’t moving. She started calling to him, asking if he was okay. When she got to him, she asked again and he said that he was just tired. She handed the boogey board to him when the boys showed up.

“It was scary,” Mulder said. She remembers seeing the wife and son bawling on the beach.

The man wasn’t injured and refused medical attention. Carpenter says that jet skis and the Coast Guard were on route to the location when the man was rescued. 

Mulder said that she has spent the past few months wondering if she would have the courage to step in if something went wrong.

“It was cool that I could do that,” Mulder said.

Mulder was staying near the state park and going on challenging hikes with friends. She believes these past moments gave her strength in this event. She says that she is from South Florida, where she used to body surf during storms, but that the Oregon Coast has elements that she doesn’t want to mess with. She believes that a higher power gave her the calmer water she needed to rescue the man.

She hopes her story will give courage to other people to step in during emergency situations. She says that we can’t always demand or depend on police and the fire department. Sometimes we have to step in before emergency personnel are able to come help.

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