Dunedin children are the first in the South Island to learn
surf safety through a national programme funded by the
Almost 200 primary and intermediate-aged children have
received free surfing and water safety lessons at various
Dunedin beaches this week, as part of Surfing New Zealand's
Have A Go Surfing Days initiative.
Based in Raglan, Surfing New Zealand (SNZ) started the
programme four years ago with the Government's KiwiSport
Regional Partnership Funding, which in Otago is administered
by Sport Otago.
SNZ development manager Lee Ryan, of Mt Maunganui, said it
was the first time the programme had been held in the South
Island and he hoped to return to Dunedin annually to involve
''Our target is to involve five schools and about 200
children [in Dunedin], based on the funding we have. The
target market is pupils in year 6, 7 and 8 and so far we've
had awesome feedback,'' Mr Ryan said.
The programme could be linked with existing swim safety
initiatives, as well as surf life-saving beach education
programmes, he said.
''The most important thing we teach the kids is to be safe in
the surf when going into the sea, so we teach them about rips
and currents,'' he said.
The Government funding was intended to introduce new sports
to children, hence the surfing lesson component.
Mr Ryan hoped many of the Dunedin children participating this
week would further their basic surfing skills.
About 25 Tahuna Normal Intermediate pupils spent yesterday
morning at St Clair, where another 75 children went through
the programme on Tuesday.
About 25 did so at Brighton on Monday, and another 25 were
due to take part at Warrington tomorrow.
The Esplanade Surf School provided instructors and equipment
for the programme in Dunedin.