Pro-surfer Mikey Wright makes daring NYE rescue on Oahu’s North Shore

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A fearless New Year’s Eve rescue by a professional surfer saved a woman who was struggling to make it back to shore amidst a powerful swell that pounded Oahu’s North Shore on Thursday, Dec. 31.

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It started out like any other afternoon at the beach. Pro-surfer Mikey Wright, who came to Hawaii to participate in the 2020 Billabong Pipeline Masters event, was taking video of the powerful waves at Ke Iki Beach when he saw a woman struggling to get out of the water.

“It actually went from zero to a hundred real quick and she was actually in a lot of danger.”

Mikey Wright, Professional Surfer

Wright gave his phone to his wife and took off to rescue the struggling beachgoer. He jumped over the fence of the home that he was staying in and sprinted towards the churning water to save her.

He said, the situation got even worse as he got closer.  

“As I was running down the beach, she actually went under a wave and was under there for a little while,” said Wright. “So I was kind of just looking at what the water was doing, and I know she was going to get drifted further down, so I ran (there).”

He finally got to the water and dove in but the waves did not make it easy. He managed to finally grab a hold of her and guided her back to the beach. Wright’s experience in the water made all the difference — one wave overtook them as they were making their way back to shore.

“As soon as I got to her I was just like, ‘Hey, you’re okay. “We’re gonna be okay.’ And as soon as I kind of, you know, started to say that, I just was watching what was kind of happening — the water was really drawing off the rocks and down further,” said Wright.

His sister, fellow pro-surfer Tyler Wright, was fortunately there to help guide him.

“My sister was yelling out that there was a double up coming, which gave me enough warning to like grab her and turn so I was into the wave, and jump into it that way to like protect her,” said Wright.

They were able to make it back to shore safely.

“There was a lot of joy because, you know, she was back on land and to see them … see how happy they were to have her back on land…”

Mikey Wright, Professional Surfer

One person who was particularly thankful for the rescue was the woman’s son.

“He just came running down the beach and just like, just latched hold of me and just kept saying, ‘Thank you so much. You saved my mom’s life, like, thank you so much,’” said Wright.

Wright tells KHON2 he doesn’t think of himself as a hero, just someone trying to help.

“Nah, that’s just, you know, instinct kicked in, and just seeing someone was in danger and that she needed help … (I) just kind of ran down there to make sure she got in safe,” said Wright.

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