INSTINCT KICKS IN: Ten-year-old surf lifesaving nipper Henry Dingle, who stopped racing to help a girl who had been hit by her board.
INSTINCT KICKS IN: Ten-year-old surf lifesaving nipper Henry Dingle, who stopped racing to help a girl who had been hit by her board. Paul Braven

Young nipper abandons race to rescue injured competitor

NIPPER Henry Dingle's team didn't win the relay event at the North Australian Championship at the weekend, but the crowd did give him a standing ovation.

The 10-year-old was hailed a hero, and presented with a special certificate, for rushing to the aid of girl who was knocked from her board during a race in rough surf at Mackay.

The delay meant his team came in last, but the story of his selflessness has captured the hearts of every single surf club in Queensland.

Henry was the first to paddle out during the under-11 board relay.

Not all the competitors made it through the breakers and when Henry came through he saw a young Townsville girl's board fly up and hit her.

"I saw the board come up and hit her in the shoulder," Henry said.

"She wasn't swimming, her head was bobbing up and down.

"It was my instinct to go and help her.

"I told her to grab onto the top of my board."

The girl had put her hand up for help from the beach rescue crew but by the time they got there Henry had the situation under control, his coach Kevin Dollery said.

"These are the little things you want these kids to develop in their attitudes," Mr Dollery said.

"It's not just about racing, it's about developing a life- saving culture. If you can save someone's life that is worth more than 10 gold medals."

Surf Life Saving Queensland Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden said it was a pretty special moment.

"You don't really expect that from someone so young," Mr Holden said.

"What he has done is one, very heroic and two, very selfless.

"To put someone else's predicament ahead of the race - it's a pretty fantastic effort."



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