“I paddled out to where he was and told him to get on my surfboard,” Sam said. “He looked pretty shocked. He got on the board and I paddled him in, and he said thank you and I went back to surfing.”

    Although Sam, who is in eighth grade at Independence Middle School, “didn’t really think it was that much of a big deal,” his dad, Ryan Ruskin, saw things differently.

    “I was shocked, just ecstatic with pride,” Ryan Ruskin said.

    He said his son had mentioned something about helping someone at the inlet when he picked him up Friday night, but he didn’t realize how dramatic the incident was until one of his friends shared the drone video on Facebook later that weekend.

    “It’s really a very dangerous area. Someone dies in that inlet every year,” Ryan Ruskin said. “He was just like, ‘What’s up? What are we doing tonight? What’s for dinner?'”

    Once Sam helped the man to shore, he was checked out by rescue officials but left uninjured.