The Inertia

On Sunday morning, a surfer rescued a deer that had become stranded on a jetty in Belmar, New Jersey. Though he was unknown at the time, the surfer has been identified as a local lifeguard. Now he’s shared his first-hand account of the quite frankly frustrating-sounding process of trying to get the animal out of the surf and to safety.

Amateur photographer Adrienne Tully initially captured the footage of the rescue. She had arrived at 7 a.m. to photograph the sunrise, when she saw a crowd forming on the beach. “He was swimming through the ocean and then he decided a couple of times to climb on the jetty and then he went back in the water, and we were a little worried,” she told News 12 New Jersey. Finally, a surfer arrived and managed to guide the deer out of the water.

Yesterday, the surfer was identified as Thomas Buckley, a 22-year-old Belmar lifeguard. As he told People, he didn’t even want to surf that morning, but eventually steeling himself for a session. Then, immediately upon arriving at the beach, Buckley saw “a deer head floating in the water.”

As Buckley recounted, he immediately dropped any surfing plans and headed out to assist the errant herbivore. “By the time I get past the breaking waves, it had swam parallel to the shore all the way to the 13th Ave jetty,” he said. “It was really good at swimming, I could barely keep up with it.”

When he did finally get to the struggling animal, it had managed to climb on to the rocks of the jetty. “It was just staring at the sunrise… standing there, shivering,” he remembered. What followed was a long ordeal of attempting to get the deer to act in its own best interest. Buckley tried to scare it off the rocks and towards the water. Then, when the deer finally did start to head back to shore, he zigzagged behind the animal to steer it in the right direction. At one point, the deer actually decided to return back to the surf, where it resumed getting pummeled, but Buckley finally coaxed it back to shore. Finally, the critter ran off, never to be seen again.


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