Juniors working on paddling out skills. Photo Sarah Gloyer

Waiheke Surf Club has started preseason training on Oneroa Beach, making for colourful scenes over the past few Sunday mornings. In 2019, Waiheke High School student Ruby Wilson’s dream was to create a safe space for the island’s tamariki to become more confident in the water and to found a club for learning about safety, team sports, first aid and rescue drills. With the help of her school friends and parents, plus the support she gained by approaching Bethells Beach Surf Lifesaving Patrol for advice, a committee was formed and her dream became a reality. In the first year the club grew from zero to 120 members, aged from four to teenagers.

This month junior surf members or ‘nippers’ aged five to 13 have been working hard at their pre-season training sessions both in the pool at Te Huruhi and on Oneroa beach. These sessions in November and December give members an extra opportunity to work on their base fitness, gain some swimming kilometres and start to learn kneeboard skills before the main season starts in February.

In the new year training will begin in conjunction with Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving Patrol for those aged 14 and over who want to achieve their Surf Lifeguard Award. Candidates travel to the Tepid Baths, train at the beach and learn first aid. To become trained lifeguards they will also travel to Bethells Beach once a month during summer to take part in education and training under the guidance of experienced lifeguards. Besides learning the skills required to save lives, members will keep fit and be involved in surf sports competitions. To apply for the senior programme, participants must be able to swim freestyle competently. • Sarah Gloyer

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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