Near-drowned surfer in critical condition

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 09:50 19/09/2011
Tuhikarama
CRAIG SIMCOX/Fairfax NZ
CRITICAL: James Tuhikarama is in critical condition in hospital after near-drowning while partipating in a surfing competition at New Brighton yesterday.

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A surfer who almost drowned at Christchurch's New Brighton beach is in a critical condition.

James Tuhikarama was rushed to the intensive care unit at Christchurch Hospital yesterday morning, after he was found face down in the water during a surfing competition.

Close friend and competition judge Russell Ritchie said medical staff ''got a whole lot of salt water out of his lungs yesterday''.

''There is no change in his condition, but doctors are going to do a few bits and pieces this morning.''

Tuhikarama remained in a critical condition this morning, but Ritchie said there was hope he would recover.

Ritchie spotted Tuhikarama floating face down beside his board at 11am. He was dragged from the water by two teenage surf lifeguards.

They performed CPR on him on the beach until an ambulance arrived.

A member of the North Wai Boardriders club for 25 years, Tuhikarama's life revolved around surfing and working, Ritchie said.

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