Surf 'not very suitable'

VITAL ROLE: Piha surf lifeguards head out on a rescue mission.
VITAL ROLE: Piha surf lifeguards head out on a rescue mission.

Learner surfers getting caught in rips are the most common rescue procedure Piha surf lifeguards have dealt with so far this summer.

Regional lifeguard Logan Adams patrols Piha Beach Monday to Friday and says surfers are going out in "not very suitable" conditions.

"We had a more serious rescue when someone swimming north of Piha was caught in a rip and strong surf. He was taken to hospital after swallowing a bit of water."

From December 1 to January 7 there's been 14 rescues, 35 first aids and one search rescue at Piha. Mr Adams says this summer is more quiet compared to last because of the weather.

"We've had a bit of rain and wind which keeps people away. Last summer was a lot hotter and calmer," he says.

Beach-goers falling on rocks and twisting their ankles are common first aid cases, Mr Adams says.

He urges people to stay safe by always swimming between the flags and asking lifeguards if unsure.

"Swimmers need to know their limits and if in doubt stay out of the water," he says.

Karekare has had five rescues and eight first aids this summer.

Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club patrol captain Nick Devcich says the number of people fishing off rocks has increased out west this year and he urges fishermen to be extra vigilant on rocks.

"The sport is really picking up and our message to fishermen would be to check the tides and conditions before heading out, wear a lifejacket on the rocks and tell people you're going out before you leave," he says.

Mr Devcich says the club's rescues were all performed on December 17 after swimmers got caught in rips and dragged along the beach into deeper holes.

He says lifeguards take preventative action before people get into trouble by keeping watch on rips and moving swimmers into safer spots.

Western Leader