Jared Lynch July 04, 2012
Cats take to water: Geelong players ride the mini-waves at Wet'n'Wild on the Gold Coast yesterday. Photo: Supplied
GEELONG star Mathew Stokes admits he and teammate Taylor Hunt have become laughing stocks after they needed to be rescued at the notorious Kurrawa beach on the Gold Coast.
''SOGGY MOGGY'' screamed the front page of yesterday's Geelong Advertiser, while the club's website described the rescue as Stokes and Hunt getting ''more than they bargained for when they went for a dip in the ocean on Monday''.
''We've been the laughing stocks all day, there have been a lot of gags and I've got a lot of new nicknames,'' Stokes told 3AW.
But to the lifesavers who plucked Stokes from the water, and supervised Hunt's swim back to shore, it was no laughing matter.
This was, after all, the beach where 14-year-old ironman competitor Matthew Barclay drowned during the national titles in March.
While Surf Life Saving Queensland co-ordinator Stuart Hogben said Kurrawa was safe enough on Monday, visitors often found themselves in strife in the unfamiliar waters.
''Obviously the guys got a little bit out of their depth,'' he said. ''It was one of those things that if the lifeguards hadn't have been there it could have been a lot worse.''
Stokes and Hunt aren't the first professional athletes to be caught in a rip at Kurrawa.
In 2008, lifeguards launched a rescue boat in an attempt to pull Gold Coast Titans co-captain Scott Prince from the water when he got into trouble during a beach training exercise.
''It was pretty scary,'' Prince said at the time. ''I was struggling. I was just tired and it was that rough. I was under the pump.''
Hogben said several Titans and Gold Coast Suns players have since completed their surf life saving bronze medallion.
''For some of the guys it's the first time they have ever been near the beach or lived near the beach and been exposed to the surf conditions that east coast of Queensland has.
''It was a fairly large inside gutter [on Monday], so there wasn't a real lot of breaking white water or anything like that, but there still was a bit of a northerly sweep. Some of these guys may only swim in the bay in Melbourne [and] you are not going to get the surf conditions that you see up here.''
The Cats are spending a week on the Gold Coast ahead of their clash with the Suns at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.
Yesterday, they stayed out of trouble in the shallow waters at Wet'n'Wild.
They are expected to regain veterans Paul Chapman and Josh Hunt.