Social media users are calling Filipino surfer Roger Casugay a hero after he saved his fellow competitor, Arip Nurhidayat from Indonesia, during the semi-final round at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.
The heroic moment occurred on Dec. 6, when the two surfers competed in a one-on-one race, according to Quartz
Casugay was reportedly in the lead when his opponent’s surfboard leash broke and he was swept by the waves in Monaliza Point, La Union in the northern Philippines.
Without hesitation, the 25-year-old surf instructor paddled his way back to Nurhidayat and helped him get to shore. The competition was also put on hold.
Casugay and Nurhidayat then settled for a rematch on Sunday, with Casugay taking the lead. He then bested fellow Filipino surfer Rogelio Esquivel Jr. in the grand final and won the gold medal with a total score of 14.5 points over Esquivel’s 14.20.
Indonesian Twitter users praised Casugay for his sportsmanship and heroism after he disregarded the competition to save Nurhidayat.
While everyone called him a hero online, Casugay insisted that was not the case. He told Rappler
: “I didn’t really save him from drowning. He is a good swimmer. I just calmed him down.”
“We have a brotherhood in surfing,”
Casugay told CNN Philippines
. “If someone needs help, you go. I didn’t think about winning and [am] just relieved that we were both safe. We were overjoyed when we reached the shore.”
“I’m so happy for him,” Casugay’s girlfriend of three years, Lisa Verweij, said. She also said Casugay did this out of humanity.