Surfers to the rescue saving family

Nick Guyan  (left) and Ezra Knight relax in Kakanui, after helping save  a young family in...
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 on Saturday.

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 swells''.

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 water.

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 ambulance.

''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 followed.

''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.



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