A heroic surfer rescued a Northern Virginia man from a rip current off the coast of North Carolina last week.
Dennis Kane and his family gathered on the beach in Corolla for an emotional, solemn memorial for his 41-year-old daughter, Kerry Kane, who died unexpectedly a year ago.
Dennis Kane and his daughters stepped into the ocean with a biodegradable urn holding her ashes.
"We stayed in for a few minutes and let the urn go,” Dennis Kane’s daughter Shannon Smith said. “My dad seemed like he might need a minute to himself.”
Smith headed back to the beach to tend to her daughter, but soon after there was a commotion when her dad was swept out to sea. They called 911.
In the water, Kane’s brother-in-law Brian George and two other men in the family were trying to reach Kane, when they, too, got in trouble.
"We turned to look back, and it was like … we’re really far out now, and then it was like every man for himself,” George said.
George fought his way back to shore. Kane was too far out, sapped of energy.
Adam Zboyovski was working at a nearby rental stand.
“A woman came running up to me and she’s saying that, you know there were some people in the water and they needed help,” he said.
He grabbed two surfboards and drove to where the Kane family was watching, pointing.
"I was just screaming to please not let this happen, because I lost my mom — she passed away — I lost my sister and I could not lose my dad," Smith said.
Zboyovski jumped on a surfboard and shot through the water toward Kane.
“As soon as I saw him, I’m like, ‘Hey man, I’m coming,’ kind of just reassuring him that, like, everything is OK, and he didn’t respond at all," Zboyovski said.
But Kane had just enough strength left to grab the surfboard. Zboyovski pulled him back to the beach.
Rescuers had arrived and took over.
Smith went to find Zboyovski.
"I went up to him and I gave him a big hug and I said, “You saved my dad’s life,’” she said.
A photo was taken the next day when Kane got out of the hospital and the family invited Zboyovski over for more hugs and thanks.
“I told him, ‘You’re part of this big, raucous family for the rest of your life. I’m sorry,’” Smith said.
“"It feels good,” Zboyovski said. “I would do it again tomorrow for somebody, so, you know, it just comes with the territory of being on the beach all day long.”