A YOUNG Warrnambool girl says she owes her life to her three best friends.
Maiya Cumming, 13, lost consciousness after she was hit on the head with her board in a training session with fellow Nippers Scarlett O'Brien, Charli Groves and Alysha Ralston.
Maiya's father Andy Cumming was leading the session at Warrnambool's main beach on Saturday.
"We did our warm up like normal and then went down and paddled to Granny's grave doing some in and outs - that's where we catch waves in and go back out," Mr Cumming said.
"We caught some waves down at Granny's, had a bit of fun - a few laughs.
"We had pretty much finished our session - we were all exhausted. We were heading back to the club and decided to do another in and out at the flume."
Mr Cumming said he was about 20 metres behind the three girls when he heard Scarlett yell out his name.
Maiya was not responsive after being hit on the head by her board. "We were coming in and there was a wave. It wasn't anything you would expect to nosedive on but Maiya did," Scarlett said.
"Her board went into the water and she fell off it and the board sprang back up into the air. She came up and was about to say something and I yelled 'watch out Maiya' and the board came down and banged her straight on the head."
The four girls sprang to action, calling out to Mr Cumming and going to the aid of their friend.
"I realised she wasn't OK so I ditched my board and swam over to her," Scarlett said. "I picked her up and it was pretty deep so I was just on one leg and I had her sitting on my knee to get her out of the water."
Mr Cumming reached his daughter and took her in his arms.
"I was trying to speak to her to see if she was alright and there was no response - she was virtually limp in my arms," he said.
"I threw her on the back of my board and she just flopped across the back of it and then I dragged that into the shore break and the girls came out and got rid of all the other boards because they were all sort of flying around and creating more danger," he said.
When the girls got back to the sand, they immediately ran to the path and asked a couple if they could use their mobile phone.
Scarlett spoke to the Triple-0 operator and gave Mr Cumming regular updates.
Maiya said she would be forever grateful.
"I honestly wouldn't be alive if they weren't here," she said.
Maiya said she believes her friends deserve an award for their bravery.
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