Nick Guyan (left) and Ezra Knight relax in Kakanui, after
helping save a young family in Karitane last Saturday.
Photo by Rebecca Ryan.
A young family owe their lives to a group of strangers
after a rescue off the surf break at the Waikouaiti River mouth
For Kakanui's Nick Guyan and Ezra Knight, conditions were
perfect for surfing at Karitane. They had come down from
Kakanui for the day to make the most of some ''massive
Mr Guyan was walking back when he spotted another surfer in
the water holding a 2-year-old boy.
Thinking the situation was ''odd'' he headed straight out to
the water, meeting the other surfer, who explained a small
boat had been capsized and the boy's parents were still in
The boat users had been struck sideways by a wave and tipped
from the boat.
The other surfer handed the child to Mr Guyan, who ferried
him to shore on his big 3m surfboard.
''He was really frightened. He was blue, he was crying.''
The parents were rescued shortly afterwards, coming to shore
''shaking, in shock, and cold''.
By that time, about six surfers including friend Ezra Knight
had gathered to organise food and warm gear and call an
''It was a good effort all round. That situation, without
anyone there, it's a toss-up whether they were going to drown
or die of hypothermia,'' he said.
He praised the family for wearing life jackets, but said it
was important to check the conditions before heading out.
A surfer for 35 years, and with 13 years of surf life-saving,
Mr Guyan knows the perils of the water and said Saturday's
incident highlighted simple safety guidelines that should be
''Get geared up, have the right equipment, get some knowledge
and, in the right conditions, enjoy the water, but don't put
yourself or your family in danger,'' he said.