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Bondi Rescue: Adrian 'Taco' Kovacic

Taco's been a surfer all his life but he never expected to be saving lives!

Bondi Rescue: Taco
'Taco' Kovacic, 19, Bronte, NSW

My heart pounded as I battled through the waves. A life was at stake - saving it was up to me. 'You're okay,' I said, pulling the girl onto my board.

I've only been working as a trainee lifeguard for a year, but I'm more than familiar with the swells of Bondi Beach. Growing up in Bronte, I've been surfing for as long as I can remember. My mates and I'd hit the waves after school, and my heart has always belonged at the beach.

When school finished, I was at a loss as to what I wanted to do so I spent my days in the sun, surfing the swells and chatting to the lifeguards. Hearing all of their heroic stories, I guess you could say I looked up to them.

'Why don't you ask them for a job?' Mum said. What could be better than doing what I love and getting paid for it?

Still, getting employed as a lifeguard isn't easy. It takes hours of rigorous training in the surf and at the gym. There is a lot of theory work, learning about the protocol and how to make a rescue. I was so stoked when I found out I got the job.

In the past year, I have made about 15 serious rescues but so far the older, more experienced lifeguards have protected me from the more taxing jobs.

Although we make hundreds of rescues each year, it doesn't always go according to plan. The surf can be unforgiving and we don't always get to people in time.

We treat those cases with the utmost respect - and then, when everything's taken care of, we deal with the emotional toll. But even when times get tough, I'm ready for anything! I really love that it's my job to save lives.

When the camera crew turned up to film us for Bondi Rescue, it was a little nerve-racking. But you get used to it, knowing you just have to focus on the task at hand. It's great that people can see what we do each day, and hopefully viewers will be more cautious when they hit the surf.

As told to Kim Bonett

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