Scorching Temps Made For An Extreme Season Of ‘Bondi Rescue’
High temperatures, large crowds, and after-dark swims made for a busier than usual season on Bondi Beach.
Veteran lifeguard Bruce "Hoppo" Hopkins has been working on Bondi Beach for 28 years and although not much surprises him, the hot Aussie summer was one of the most extreme yet.
"This summer was very warm and we got a lot of 30 degree days so it takes its toll," Hoppo told 10 daily.
"You get massive crowds and the big thing this year was people staying back after we’d finished at 7 pm because it was so hot and the water was warm," he added.
And while the life-saving pros often stay on patrol after knock-off time, they can't physically be on duty 24/7 to protect swimmers who take late-night dips.
"We just try to educate people, once the flags are down, there are no lifeguards and people need to take precautions.
"Don’t go in the water, or head over to the pools," Hoppo said.
The first episode of the new season of Bondi Rescue shows the aftermath of a tragic drowning that happened one night after the lifeguards had packed up after a long day.
Hoppo explained to 10 daily that it can be hard to switch off after experiencing an intense day on the job at Bondi Beach.
"I’ve spoken to a lot of footy players and they have the same problem after a big game of footy. It’s the same with us," he explained.
"It’s very hard to wind down, you finish at 7 o’clock and go home. But the adrenaline’s been up and down all day and it’s very hard to relax and go to sleep. You can be awake ‘til 11 or 12 o’clock at night because you’ve had such a big day," he said.
This season also saw a few of the Bondi Rescue team's saltier old lifeguards leave the beach, with Hoppo having to find a whole bunch of young recruits to train up.
"We’ve had a big turnover this year, we’ve got six new ones who have come on board. The lucky thing is, even though they haven’t worked Bondi, some have been lifeguards elsewhere," said Hoppo.
"It has been an eye-opener for them," he said of the tough gig. "Until you work at Bondi, you don’t realise what it's going to be like... you need to experience it," he said.
But the real eye-opener this season was hosting comedian and talk show host Conan O'Brien, who visited Bondi in February.
"He was good fun!" Hoppo laughed, explaining that Conan is a big fan of Bondi Rescue and fancied a go at becoming a lifeguard.
"He jumped on a board and tried to paddle and went for a bit of a swim," he told 10 daily. "It was funny, he was dragging himself so badly because he’s quite pale and skinny.
"He said, ‘I look a bit pasty but I want to be a lifeguard!’
Hoppo said the American comedian might "need a fair bit of training" but was a very good sport down on the beach.
"The other thing he realised is we all make it look easy because we do it every day -- but it’s more difficult than what you’d think," the lifeguard told us.
Bondi Rescue premieres on Wednesday, February 20 At 7.30pm Only On 10 And WIN Network.
Main Image: Network 10