Students experience the thrill of surfing
South Auckland kids have been hanging 10 with the best of them at Piha Beach.
Around 50 students from Otara's Bairds Mainfreight Primary School hit the water as part of the Have a Go Surfing Days, organised by Surfing New Zealand and the ASB Community Trust.
The teaching project - the biggest that Surfing New Zealand has ever undertaken - saw about 800 kids from 15 schools learn how to catch a wave.
They were also taught about the ocean currents and the importance of staying safe in the water, Surfing New Zealand development manager Lee Ryan says.
"We have a big focus on beach safety and teaching the kids about rips and currents and how to keep out of danger.
"These skills remain with kids for a lifetime. Even if they do not continue to surf, they can use these skills whenever they go to the beach."
School head of sport Stuart Reddrop says the safety lessons will stand the students in good stead.
Many of those involved would not have had the chance to visit the beach otherwise, he says.
"Out of the 50 kids only about four or five had been there before," Mr Reddrop says.
But there was a great deal of raw talent on display.
"I was quite surprised actually. They were divided into two groups and only the first group managed to get into the ocean because it got a bit choppy after that, but of that group they all seemed to get at least a few seconds' riding time.
"They were standing up on their boards and loving it - it was pretty amazing," he says.
The Have a Go Surfing Days are aimed at primary and intermediate school children who would not usually get to try surfing.