Bondi Rescue’s Kobi: I’m lucky to be alive

Kobi Graham

The TV lifesaver tells Katherine Chatfield of his brush with death.

As a star of Bondi Rescue, lifeguard Kobi Graham is known as a real-life hero whose experience in the surf has given him the skills to save lives on a daily basis.

He never expected he’d need to call on those skills to save his own life.

Kobi, 31, is lucky to be alive after he broke his neck in a surfing accident at treacherous Cape Solander, off Sydney’s Botany Bay, in May. He was riding what he thought was the best wave of the day when disaster struck.

“I knew I’d fallen off on the worst part of the wave,” Kobi says. “I thought, ‘I’m in trouble.’ There was a moment of suspension, then, bang, I hit my head. There was this big flash. I knew I’d done something severe.”

“If I’d been knocked out, I would definitely have been dead.”

Kobi is sure it was his lifeguard training that saved him in the seconds after the fall. He went through a standard checklist for any rescue – except this time it was for himself.

“I thought, ‘Am I conscious?’. I realised I was. Then I thought, ‘Can I move?’”

But as Kobi tried to move, he felt an electric current of pain shooting through his arms. “It was like I was holding on to a live wire,” he says. “I’d never felt so much pain. I knew instantly I’d broken my neck.”

To read the full story see this week’s Woman’s Day, on sale June 28, 2010.

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