Durban Surfer Andre Botha rescues Pro Surfer in Hawaii.
Andre Stephen Botha, 34 from Durban has been praised for his role in rescuing pro surfer Evan Geiselman (USA), who was left unconscious after he was hit by a massive wave on the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii.
The two-time Body boarding world champ was the first to reach the unconscious Floridian in the impact zone, and paddled Evan to the beach while administering rescue breaths. Andre was met by lifeguards in the shore break, who took over and resuscitated Evan at the Beach Park, before rushing the goofyfoot to Queens hospital for recovery.
“Thanks to everyone, especially Andre, he was truly Evan’s guardian angel,” said Evan’s brother Eric Geiselman. “Everyone responded so heroically and our family cannot thank them enough. Today we are very blessed to still have Evan with us.
Zig Zag surfing magazine reported that Botha, a two-time professional body boarding world champion, reached Geiselman in the wave impact zone. Geiselman was unconscious. Botha paddled him to the beach while trying to resuscitate him.
The surfing magazine reported that Botha was met by lifeguards in the shore break, who took over and resuscitated Geiselman, before taking him to hospital.
Andre, is the brother of one of I Love Durban’s regular contributor and talented photographer Marck Botha. He posted this on his Instagram account shortly after the rescue.
“So proud of my big brother @andre_botha_662 saving a pro surfers life today at Pipe. Andre is a total machine, and I personally feel a lot safer in the water when he is around and am able to push myself that much more. Can tell just from the amount of footage he has got in his first three days on the North Shore that he is a bit abnormal, but in the best way. Super proud and glad to call you my brother and glad you were there to save the day, @andre_botha_662. Big big love and respect, legend! Photo @masheen662”
Surfer Aaron Pasoquen said on Twitter that as he was swimming out, he saw Botha taking a huge right-breaking wave “and aired it out”. This put Botha in the perfect position for what was about to happen. Next Geiselman took off on a “left bomb” that closed out.
“He was held under for a few waves and the next thing I know I see what looks like Botha fighting Geiselman. It took me a second to realise, but Botha had actually swum over and pulled Geiselman to the surface.
“Botha held him at the surface and got started giving rescue breaths and a few chest compressions while pulling him in. I was trying to race to help but was caught just out of reach. Botha performed the water rescue on his own, all the way from Pipeline to the sand at Ehukai,” Pasoquen tweeted.
“Evan was unresponsive upon reaching the sand and after only a few minutes the life guards were able to bring him back and assist him until the fire department and ambulance arrived.
“Everyone who was there and saw the whole thing knows that Botha is a hero and the only reason Geiselman is alive and in a stable condition right now. The best part to see, aside from Geiselman waking up, was how humble Botha was in the process and continues to act like he didn’t do much,” Pasoquen tweeted.
Geiselman’s brother, Eric, thanked everyone for their response.
“Andre, he was truly Evan’s guardian angel. Our family cannot thank them enough. Today we are very blessed to still have Evan with us,” he said.
Andre’s brother, Marck Botha, also from Durban North, said his brother spent four to five months a year in Hawaii at this time of the year for the surfing season.
He spent the rest of the year between Durban and Cape Town looking for waves.
“He learnt about the ocean in Durban. He did nippers early and when we were younger we were always missioning up and down the Durban coast looking for waves.”
Andre learnt cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedures from his father, Doctor Andre Botha sr, who has a paediatric practice at Westville Hospital.
“Andre told me he could recall procedures my dad had taught him. Andre seemed stunned. He had a few snacks and went back into the water,” Marck said.
Botha jr attended Virginia Primary School and Northwood High School before he started home school and travelling the world body boarding.
He was youngest body boarder world champion at age 17.