Opunake ranked in top 10 for rescues

00:24, Jun 24 2014

TOP 10 RESCUES Hot Water Beach - 101

Whangamata - 56

Mt Maunganui - 54

Piha - 53

Raglan - 47

Muriwai - 41

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Sumner - 40

Riversdale - 35

Orewa - 34

Opunake - 28

Source: Surf Life Saving NZ

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Opunake surf lifesavers were at full stretch over summer, cracking the top 10 list of rescues made across the country.

According to Surf Life Saving New Zealand statistics, Opunake completed 28 rescues during the patrol season, placing the club 10th overall in New Zealand.

Hot Water Beach, in the Coromandel, performed the largest number of rescues with 101.

It was followed by Whangamata and Mt Maunganui with a total of 56 and 54 rescues respectively.

Opunake Surf Life Saving Club chairman Michael Roach said the number of rescues performed over the summer were up on the previous season. About three quarters of those were completed on the day of the town's beach carnival on January 4, which attracted more than 1000 people.

Roach said most of the rescues involved people who were swimming outside of the flagged area in what were rough conditions.

"On that day we had massive surf," he said.

Named the top surf club at May's Taranaki Awards of Excellence has capped off what had been a period of growth for the club, especially in terms of lifeguard recruitment.

Roach said the surf club now had a pool of about 38 lifeguards, with 12 trained during the past season.

And with patrolling set to begin at Labour weekend, Roach said the club was in pretty good shape.

"We are at a good base now, but we've still got a ways to go," he said.

Overall, rescue numbers during the New Zealand patrol season, which typically runs from October to April, declined by 37 per cent when compared to the 2012/13 season.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand said one reason for the fall was a decrease in the number of people heading to the beach due to indifferent weather.

Taranaki Daily News