Stephan Jenkins on Rescuing Four Teens Caught in a Riptide: 'Tragedy Was Kind of Close'

Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins and Brad Hargreaves heroic actions saved a group of teens from drowning last week

Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Park City Live

A fun surfing trip took a harrowing turn for Third Eye Blind‘s Stephan Jenkins and Brad Hargreaves when they noticed four teens caught in a riptide off the Carolina Coast – but now the two are also heroes after paddling the group back to safety.

“We’re both really avid surfers and we’d been touring a lot for the new album Dopamine and were doing rehearsals for Bonnaroo [Music Festival],” Jenkins tells PEOPLE exclusively about last Wednesday’s scary situation. “We try to pick places where there’s a surf break. It was really rip-ey, and we saw this group of kids and thought it was odd they were that far out.”

After realizing the teens were “kind of quiet” and “weren’t flailing around,” Jenkins and Hargreaves jumped into action.

“They weren’t swimming anymore. One of them said, ‘I need help,’ so we paddled over and we told them to rest on our boards,” says Jenkins. “We said, ‘You’re okay. We’re in a rip and we’re going to swim around it.”

Because the bandmates are “both water men,” they were able to stay calm and prevent any tragedies. “As soon as they got on the board, it was actually hard to get them wrangled on there, but a couple kids were really done, so we put them on our board and just pushed them in to shore,” says Jenkins.

It also wasn’t until after the musicians hopped back into the water for a surfing session and the teens approached their tour manager that they realized their actions saved four lives. “At the time, we were kind of like, ‘People need to know how to deal with rips,’ and then we realized the difference between that being just . . . a little event and a tragedy was kind of close.”

Adds Jenkins: “It’s afterwards that Brad and I, we’re both the type of people when someone says ‘Good job,’ you kind of deflect it, but later on we were like ‘Okay, that’s actually nice. That felt good.'”

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