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Riversdale set for a busy summer

The sun, blue skies, and official opening of the lifeguard season, mean one thing – summer is upon us and Riversdale is gearing up for a busy one.

A humming Labour Weekend kicked off Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club season with beachgoers flocking to the coastal settlement.

Club chair Dave Rose said the warm weather saw dozens of people in the water, and lifeguards patrolling in the afternoons.

He said this season the club would have a roster of around 45 lifeguards patrolling regularly at the weekends from December and daily from Christmas.

Rose said the club was anticipating a similar season to the last, which saw lifeguards rack up numerous rescues and an award for central region Rescue of the Year.

He said Riversdale punched well above its weight with last season’s guards clocking 4562 patrol hours.

“That’s more than any of the 28 clubs in the central region.”

He said in the 2021-2022 summer Riversdale Surf Life Club rescued 23 people and participated in 36 search and rescue events.

“There were also 11 major first aid incidents, some of which were assisting helicopter or ambulance, 24 minor first aid events, and 1639 preventative actions.”

Rose said the Rescue of the Year award related to an incident just after New Year where a man boogie boarding came off a wave and crashed head-first into the sand.

“We attended to him directly on the beach. The ambulance and then the helicopter came, and he was flown directly to the spinal unit at the hospital in Christchurch.”

He said the guards had to dig a channel around the man to stop the tide coming in while waiting for paramedics.

“With it being a suspected spinal injury, the lifeguards attending had to hold the man’s head still for about an hour and a half. They did everything right.”

Rose said the season opening was one of three notable milestones for the club in October, with the surf life club hosting the annual IRB development camp and also welcoming a new 4WD side-by-side beach quad bike.

He said the importance of the new rescue quad bike could not be overstated.

“A huge thanks goes to Powerco for supporting this purchase. Without it, the club would not have been able to afford this vital piece of rescue equipment.”

Rose said that the IRB development camp saw surf lifesavers from across the lower North Island go through a driving capability assessment over two demanding days in big seas.

“The majority passing the course and able to take those skill sets back to their respective beaches.”

Club captain and IRB examiner Mike Taylor said the candidates did well despite the testing conditions.

“If you can drive an IRB at Riversdale, you can drive anywhere.”

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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