SURFSIDE BEACH, Texas – Johnny McGee, 67, of Pasadena is an avid surfer. He says he has surfed for more than 50 years and continues to compete despite his age.
On Saturday, during the height of Hurricane Hanna, he helped rescue two teen girls from the water at Surfside Beach in Brazoria County.
McGee says he had actually left the beach to go home but decided to return and continue surfing.
That’s when he saw the two girls, ages 17 and 18, screaming for help in the water.
They were about a half-mile offshore, McGee said. The teens, who did not want to be identified, had walked out onto the jetty to take pictures when they were swept off by big waves.
“I guess I was meant to be there because there was nobody else out there,” McGee said. “I was already to the bridge, fixing to go home and I turned back and I said I’m going to go ahead and go surfing,” he added.
McGee jumped into action. He paddled out and told the girls to swim to his surfboard but they couldn’t because they were too worn out.
“So I went and got them. I said ‘we’ve got to get to the beach so we have to figure something out.' I said ‘y’all get on each side of me, hold on to my legs and try to paddle with your arms,‘” McGee said.
They made it about 125 yards closer to shore in 25 minutes, he said. That’s when McGee saw someone on the jetty.
“I yelled to him go get some help go get some surfers to help us out here,” McGee said.
Another surfer came out into the water and took one of the girls. A few minutes later, two more surfers jumped in and helped take the girls back to shore.
“They took the girls the rest of the way in. I don’t know their names but kudos to them too for helping out,” McGee said.
McGee also credits his experience as a surfer. He knew what to do and kept the girls calm and focused on getting back to shore safely.
“Surfers know through experience (if) you go underwater, (you should) relax relax relax. Don’t fight it or you’re going to end up using your energy and your air,” said McGee.
The girls were taken to the hospital with minor cuts and bruises but their mother told KPRC 2 that they are doing OK.