This study describes the demographics, occurrence, location, primary hazards and outcomes involved in rescues performed by surfers on Australian beaches. Conservative estimates suggest that the number of rescues conducted by Australian surfers each year is on par with the number conducted by volunteer surf lifesavers. Surfers perform a considerable number of serious rescues in both lifesaver/lifeguard patrolled (45%) and unpatrolled (53%) beach locations. Rip currents represent the major physical hazard leading to rescue (75%) and the dominant emotional response of people rescued is one of panic (85%). Most surfer rescue events occur during conditions of moderate waves and sunny, fine weather with the highest proportion of rescues occurring on quiet beaches with few people around (26%). Swimming is the activity associated with most rescue events (63%), followed by board riding (25%). Males aged 18-29 represent the largest demographic of people rescued. Surfers with prior water-safety training are more likely to perform a higher number of rescues, however ability to perform rescues is not associated with formal training, but rather number of years’ experience surfing. Seventy-eight percent of surfers were happy to help, while 28% expressed feelings of annoyance or inconvenience, generally towards unwary swimmers. Results of this research suggest that 63% of surfers feel they have saved a life. This value may be enhanced through improved training of surfers in basic water safety rescue techniques.