Most people know Clint Kimmins from his role as Clipper in Australia’s Bondi Rescue – he served as a Bondi Rescue lifeguard from 2018 to 2022. Before reality show fame, Kimmins was a surfing prodigy: despite a challenging upbringing, Kimmins was selected to compete for junior surfing titles in Bali and Hawaii. 

Kimmins’ victory earned him sponsorship from the Australian surfing brand Rip Curl. He dropped out of school with dreams of joining the World Surf League. Despite having the talent and work ethic of an elite surfer, Kimmins was forced to abandon his World Surf League aspirations due to a criminal conviction. 

Kimmins competes in surf and Iron Man competitions after his dismissal from Bondi Rescue

Kimmins participates in surf and Iron Man competitions in his native Gold Coast. He returned to Gold Coast after his shock dismissal from Bondi Rescue

The surfer announced his exit on Instagram, writing that he was proud of his stint as a lifeguard in Sydney. He described a profession characterized by triumph and tragedy:

“I have saved many lives, I have sadly witnessed many deaths, I have served the community by doing something I love and have done it with pride and to the best of my ability. I have formed relationships with people I now care about deeply and I want to thank the locals for accepting me into their community.”

Kimmins was among several lifeguards dismissed by Sydney’s Waverley council after they failed to disclose their vaccination status or comply with vaccine protocol. Kimmins told The Courier-Mail that the abrupt and impersonal dismissals failed to appreciate the lifeguards for their selfless efforts. 

“We were on the frontline throughout the pandemic when they made us close the beaches and we’ve been left covered in blood from rescuing people and doing suicide retrievals from the rocks,” Kimmins said. “To be treated this way is hugely disappointing.”

He told the outlet that the council dismissed those who failed to prove their vaccination. “We were just shown the door – there was no compassion,” Kimmins said. 

The move to Gold Coast wasn’t easy, as he had to leave his girlfriend and dog in Sydney. Kimmins consulted a psychologist to help him deal with the impact of the dismissal. “I just think the whole thing’s been poorly handled – people should be kind to each other at this time,” Kimmins said. 

Kimmins used his time in prison to get into peak physical condition

In 2004, Kimmins was arrested for using a glass bottle to stab a drug dealer in self-defense. During an appearance on the Good Humans podcast in January 2023, Kimmins said his stint in the holding cell was unbearable. 

He revealed that officers warned him against revealing his personal information to other prisoners. He said he spent two months in the dark and cold prison cell, unaware of the time or day. 

“There was blood on the walls and paint scratched off by fingernails,” Kimmins said. “People were scratching the paint off the wall, rolling it with cardboard toilet rolls and smoking it.”

Kimmins made a friend who advised him not to show emotion or get friendly with the guards. He was transferred to a maximum security prison to serve his 18-month sentence for unlawful wounding. 

“Eventually I was put in a cell with this young guy who was addicted to drugs, and he was laying down and smoking, but he gave me some Tim Tams and I spoke to him quietly. I remember how quiet it was,” he said. 

Kimmins added that his friends’ advice helped him adapt to prison life quickly and maintain a low profile. He began reading and working out, which improved his physical and mental health. “I went in there at 84 kg and suddenly I had six packs and abs,” he said. “I’d never been that fit and I got addicted to the training.”

Kimmins’ prison stint increased his appreciation of freedom. “I felt so appreciated and motivated for the rest of my life,” he said

Rip Curl dropped Kimmins, placing his surfing career in limbo. Thankfully, he secured sponsorship deals with Oakley and Redbull, reigniting his surfing career. 

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