More than 90 young people donned their surf caps and fluoro vests on Saturday for Waiheke Surf Club’s first beach event, with capture the flag, kneeboarding and sea swim races just some of the activities on offer.
The island’s newly trained teen lifeguards turned out in their yellow and red uniforms to assist with the Junior Surf programme, run in partnership with Bethells Beach Surf Lifesaving Patrol.
It was an early start for the volunteer coaches and lifeguards from the West Coast club, who set their alarms for 5.30am to get over to the island with trailers full of kneeboards and rescue tubes. This will be repeated for the remaining four sessions in the programme until 4 April.
In a departure from the Nippers programme, which has been running on the island in recent years, Junior Surf sessions focus more on surf sports, helping develop the lifeguards of tomorrow and having fun.
“There’s a progression as well,” said the club’s Abby Kurtini. “This is about growing with the club, from starting young and seeing how you progress through to a more club and team environment.”
Organisers “couldn’t be happier” with the number of sign-ups, with more young people aged five to 13 expected to register for the Onetangi beach sessions in coming weeks.
“This is just the beginning and it proves that a surf club will work on the island. It was quite emotional seeing everyone on the beach, there must have been over 100 kids and families coming together,” said Abby.
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