Muriwai locals reclaim their surf

AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 03/03/2013
Adam Strange's widow Meg and daughter Indigo
Fairfax NZ
LAST TRIBUTE: Adam Strange's widow Meg and daughter Indigo on Muriwai Beach during a tribute to the shark-attack victim.

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Three days after a shark killed Adam Strange, a lifeguard was the first person to return to the water.

The beach reopened yesterday from an enforced closure since the fatal attack. At 8.30am Muriwai surf sports head coach David Butt walked into the waves and started swimming.

Following him came a group of children and teens in training to be lifesavers - some as young as eight.

There was never any doubt they would reclaim the water as soon as they were allowed, Butt said.

"Of course we were going to get back in the water, we're busy training for the [surf lifesaving] national championships next week, so it's about building up a bit of confidence right now," he said.

"Some of the young ones are a bit nervous but the chances are slim of this kind of tragedy happening.

"We have to accept that this is the shark's domain and it was such a rare occasion and terribly unfortunate that it happened," he said.

Aotea Clifton, 10, said she was "a little bit nervous" about hitting the beach today, however, her mother braved the surf alongside her in support.

Later that morning, Strange's widow, Meg, and daughter, Indigo, were among a 60-strong group of mourners who gathered at the beach for a tribute, wading into the water and casting flowers into the waves.

Johnny O'Leary said his surfing buddy Strange would have been "stoked".

"I feel like after what happened with the shark we can't be fearful."

Strange was killed after going for a "very rare swim" instead of his daily surf or stand-up paddle, a statement by his family revealed.

He wanted to test his new goggles for today's Rangitoto Harbour Swim.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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