During Tony's years in school, he was alienated from most of the physical activities and as a result, he joined the surf lifesaving camp at the Omanu Surf Club which was run by one of his swimming coaches.
A proficient swimmer by then, Tony earned his surf lifesaving Bronze Medallion at the end of the same week and joined the Omanu Pacific Surf Lifesaving Club.
He worked as a surf lifeguard for 8 years and was also the club's canoe team captain.
Tony is believed to be the only double amputee lifeguard in the Southern Hemisphere.
Throughout his career as a surf lifesaver, Tony made 33 rescues and was granted a Special Achievement Award from the International Life Saving Federation the same year he gained his instructor's certificate.