Youngsters flock to join surf club

ROB MAETZIG
Last updated 05:00 12/11/2012
surf stand
CAMERON BURNELL
Retired farmer Don Harvey surrounded by a crew of nippers at Oakura Beach yesterday.

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A Taranaki surf club is enjoying a surge in young membership - and a big reason is financial support from a well-known retired farmer.

Don Harvey used to farm around the coast, but these days he is retired and living in Oakura.

He's also a life-long fan of surf lifesaving, and now a big supporter of the New Plymouth Old Boys Surf Club, which is based at Oakura.

Mr Harvey is paying half the subscriptions of any youngster who joins the club. And the end result of that is the biggest Nipper membership the club has seen for years.

This subsidy is costing Mr Harvey about $1400 this year, but he says it is worth every cent.

"I'm doing it simply to encourage young people to get involved in surf lifesaving," he said as he was surrounded by dozens of Nippers enjoying their Sunday morning activities in the pouring rain at Oakura yesterday.

"Hopefully, at the very least it'll prevent a few of them getting caught in rips. But I'm also hopeful the kids will end up being involved in surf lifesaving for life."

Club president Paul Barron said Mr Harvey's assistance was proving invaluable.

"We're going out and targeting prospective young members from the Omata, Oakura and coastal schools, and it is working," he said.

"We've got a fantastic coaching programme going . . . and as a result our Nipper numbers have gone through a hundred. It's great to see the children and their parents out here every weekend."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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