'Very lucky' surfer brought to shore after water rescue at Waitara beach

Thursday, 1 October 2020


Photo by SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF. The surfer was on shore within an hour of emergency services being called.


A surfer who was plucked from rough waters 800 metres off a north Taranaki beach was a “very lucky boy”, a surf lifesaver says.

Officers were called to West Beach in Waitara, near the river mouth, around 11.50am on Wednesday.

A police media spokeswoman said they were told a person was drifting on a surfboard and struggling to get back to shore.

Dave Bentley, of the Taranaki Rescue Squad, said police called them not long after and a team of three made their way from New Plymouth.

Bentley also called the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter “just in case things went sour”.

“We lost sight of him originally,” Bentley, who is also a rescue swimmer for the helicopter, said.

SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF. The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter was not needed at the rescue in the end.


The helicopter landed but was not needed as the squad found the surfer 800m offshore, Bentley said.

“He was a very lucky boy.”

The surfer had been out for about an hour and a half with a friend when he started struggling to get to shore, Bentley said.

SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF. The surfer was back on shore within an hour of emergency services being called.

There was a very strong offshore wind and strong currents, which made for “very interesting conditions for surfing”.

Bentley said he didn't think the surfer was a local to the area.

“Always swim with a friend and know your limits,” he advised.

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