Slow start at Manu Bay for summer surf

SURF'S UP: Raglan surfer Daniel Kereopa in his favourite element.
SURF'S UP: Raglan surfer Daniel Kereopa in his favourite element.

The surf at Manu Bay left much to be desired yesterday but that's not stopping the tourists flocking to check out the famous surfing beach.

And its resident lifeguards are warning the masses to take care.

"We haven't had much trouble but we've had some busy days - the beach is quite dangerous at the moment," Raglan Surf Club vice captain Mark Shrimpton said.

Vice captain of the Raglan Surf Club Mark Shrimpton on duty.
Vice captain of the Raglan Surf Club Mark Shrimpton on duty.

"The surf hasn't been huge but it has been enough to keep us busy when the numbers get over 200."

Only two rescues are on record at the beach so far this season.

Both mass rescues, one group of four and one group of three were spotted two weekends ago and needed lifeguard assistance.

Tourist swimmers and new surfers are generally the biggest concern for lifeguards with surfers requiring lifeguard assistance more than swimmers, Mr Shrimpton said.

"Some don't have the surf education to know where the waves are or how to catch them."

"The issues definitely come from people going beyond their limits, being over confident in the water and not realising where the flags are."

"We've got danger signs up and down the beach and no one seems to take notice of them.

"We don't have any authority, we can only advise people."

South Korean man Sang-gwon Park was at Manu Bay to surf for the first time yesterday.

Here in New Zealand on a working holiday, Mr Park had heard that the surf in Raglan was the best.

So he hired a board and headed out into the waves.

"It was very nice, they were nice waves but they were hard for me. I am just a beginner, I drank too much seawater," he said.

Auckland surfer Jerome Garthwaite was also out for his first ride at the popular beach.

He has only been surfing for a little over a year and had ventured down to see what the Manu Bay fuss was about.

"As far as beach breaks go this is definitely one that people talk about."

The small surf wasn't as impressive as foretold but he still enjoyed his time on the waves.

"It's not big and it's a wee bit messy but it's good for learners. Good surfers wouldn't bother though."

Mr Shrimpton shared his tips for keeping safe at the beach this summer.

"Swim between the flags, listen to lifeguards, pay attention to safety signs down the beach."

"Know your limits and stay within them," he said.

And for new surfers?

The best thing is to ask a lifeguard for the best place to head out to.

"We're full of advice and we're happy to give it out," Mr Shrimpton said.

Waikato Times