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On-beach dramas not drownings

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 14/01/2014

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A runaway beach umbrella was one of the more unfortunate incidents at Mangawhai Heads this season.

The sun shade escaped in a gust of wind last Monday and ploughed into the face of a middle-aged beach goer, knocking her out and breaking her nose.

"She had a little bit of a concussion and started vomiting but she was fine in the end," Mangawhai Heads Surf Life Saving Club captain Tim Gibb says.

An ambulance was called and St John paramedics ensured the woman was OK.

Lifeguards have been busy patrolling the beach which has been packed over Christmas and New Year, but good water conditions have helped keep swimmers safe.

"Our season has been going pretty good. We haven't had too many rescues because the beach has been pretty safe this year," Mr Gibb says. "We have just had a small swell the whole time."

Only a handful of swimmers were pulled out of the water at the start of the season and another ambulance had to be called when a beach user dislocated a shoulder.

But the masses on the beach kept patrollers busy completing preventative actions to keep swimmers safe.

Club members made the best of a $300,000 upgrade which extended the clubrooms by a third before the season started.

It is the first time in nearly 45 years the club has been refurbished and the work is necessary to keep up with the growing number of beach users and club members.

Finishing touches are still needed and some rooms remain like a building site but funds have run dry, Mr Gibb says.

A fundraising door knock late last year raised another $4500 and the club hopes to gain more donations at its annual beach day on the Sunday of Auckland Anniversary Weekend.

The day comprises fun beach activities and swimmers can test their courage and fitness in a swim around Head Rock.

Weekday patrols finish at Mangawhai this Friday but weekend patrols continue until the end of summer.

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