Seven surfers rescued at Raglan Beach by development camp instructors

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time when Surf Lifeguards rescued seven surfers, six of them learners, at Raglan Beach on Saturday, October 12. 

Seventy people – candidates, instructors, examiners and helpers – were at the Raglan Surf Life Saving Club as part of the annual Zespri IRB Development Camp run in the Eastern Region by Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

Club and Member Development Officer for the Coromandel Area Chaz Gibbons-Campbell says during the training the tide dropped and a large rip started to form to the left of the training area.

“A hand went up out the back some 200 meters off shore and our spotters up at the club were able to see this and direct fully qualified lifeguards and IRB drivers, who were tasked with supervising the training and providing water safety to our candidates taking part, to go out and rescue the surfer who had been taken out by the rip.”

Chaz says this continued throughout the afternoon with another six surfers needing some assistance to get back to shore.

“Every 20 minutes we were checking on someone else. Not all of them put up their hand. Some we noticed in trouble and dispatched an IRB to go and check on them and when the help was offered they accepted a ride back to the beach.”

The surfers were a 16-year-old from Hamilton and six men who were learner surfers, using hired boards, from Europe.

Chaz says the surfers did the right thing by staying with their surf boards.

“If you are tired, stay with your board – that’s your floatation device.”

He says surfers and swimmers caught in a rip should remember and practice the three R’s.

“The three R’s are Relax and float, Raise your hand and Ride the rip. Nobody is stronger than a rip. If you Relax and float, Raise your hand and Ride the rip you’ll have the best chance of getting to safety.”

Chaz says the Raglan Surf Life Saving Club does not start patrolling until October 26, on Labour Weekend.

“If it weren’t for our guys at the development camp, the public would have likely needed to call 111. The Raglan Call Out Squad would have been activated which could have taken another 20 minutes for any Raglan Clubbie to get to the club and launch a response.”

Among the lifeguards involved were Tarris Rall and Samantha Reeder, both 17 and from Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, Kane Cocker, 19, from Whiritoa Lifeguard Service, Liam Porter, 17, from Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club and Jamie Lock, 18, from Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club.

Jamie is no stranger to helping people in their time of need. The young builder was working on a construction site earlier this year when a woman across the road fell and suffered a serious gash to her head, among other injuries. Jamie was quick to respond with a first aid kit, calmed the woman, and cared for her until an ambulance arrived 40 minutes later.



For more information contact:

Melanie Louden

Media and Communications Manager

Surf Life Saving New Zealand

021 757 433