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Unwelcome rescue of surfers

April 3, 2011

A news clip on TV1 last week showed some clubbies at Piha attempting to rescue some young surfers caught in a rip. Trouble is, they weren’t in trouble; they were in a lesson with an instructor who was teaching them about rips.

The surf rescue guy tried to grab one of the kids by the arm and put him in this boat, in turn, the surf instructor grabbed the kid and told the rescue guy in no uncertain terms where to go. The whole thing seemed a bit of a set up, a bit of drama and conflict (and they did mention in the story that the surf instructor and the clubbie in question had a personality conflict) made for prime viewing for the Piha Rescue show.

This is a clip of the footage, it shows more than the original news story. Here are the comments made about the story – shows the complexities of the situation, and I guess there are two sides to a story. The instructor did seem to have a high ratio of students as the only instructor.

But aside from being a sensationalised story it did raise some interesting issues about how one person’s dangerous situation -in need of rescuing – is not for another person, and can actually be an important part of their learning experience. Rips are dangerous. But surfers need to use them to get out the back and the only way to learn about them is to be in them and work out how they operate.

So is this story part of our growing obsession with risk? Or was it a justified rescue?

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