Stab Magazine | Brazilian Surfers Save Aussie, Nathan Bartlett's Life, At Desert Point

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Brazilian Surfers Save Aussie, Nathan Bartlett’s Life, At Desert Point

The Grower is deadly. 

news // Jul 2, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tensions between Brazilian and Australian surfers have been high in Indonesia this season. Qatar Airways, the same airline that’s been banned in the Persian Gulf, put on a special for $500 dollar flights from Rio to Bali. On any given swell, it’s been common to hear as much Portuguese as Aussie twang in the lineup.

But for all the bickering and competition for waves, it was set aside when Nathan Bartlett, a hard-charging Australian, went down on a large set wave June 16th at Desert Point. Bartlett, who’s known for never pulling back, was knocked unconscious on the reef and split his face open. It was three Brazilian surfers, Renan Farias, Rodrigo Cardoso, and Kako Lopes, who reacted quickly to Bartlett’s life-threatening condition.

The group was surfing The Grower, a notoriously fast and shallow section of Lombok’s best wave, when Bartlett took off deep he suffered a bad wipeout. Renan was the first on the scene, he took Bartlett’s lifeless body onto his board and began paddling him to shore, but with the powerful surf and strong currents, the rescue mission was joined by Rodrigo and Kako. The group paddled Bartlett to a fishing boat where they got him on board and began administering CPR.

Balaram Stack, who’s been trained by North Shore Lifeguards to handle such situations, swam from the beach to assist in the rescue. The boat captain took them to a nearby bay and brought Nathan into a warung where he regained consciousness. The crew then left in a car for Mataram, a town near Desert Point, where his wounds were cleaned and stitched up before heading back to Bali for further medical treatment.

While Nathan’s injuries have been gruesome, he is recovering well at home in Australia with his wife and two young children. His family attributes the quick thinking and level-headedness of Renan, Rodrigo, and Kako for saving Nathan’s life.

As any big wave surfer will tell you, if you’re going to be tackling waves of consequence, it is important to be trained in rescue courses and CPR. Like we’ve just seen at Deserts and last week at Skeleton Bay, it can be the difference between life and death.


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