Whiritoa, Hot Off the Press

Our very own Chaz Gibbons is featured in an article profiling New Zealand’s lifeguards.

Check it out below, or here: http://www.noted.co.nz/life/life-in-nz/meet-some-of-the-new-zealand-lifeguards-looking-out-for-you-this-summer/

Chaz Gibbons-Campbell

Lifeguard for 12 years and director at Whiritoa Lifeguard Service, Coromandel

What’s the beach like that you work at?
It’s a soft, white sand beach. Whiritoa is Maori for shifting sands and our beach is always changing. Going into the ocean, there’s quite a steep drop-off so it has quite a large shore break – big waves smash onto the shore and catch out young kids and the elderly quite easily. We get rips, they’re shifting too as the sand’s always moving and changing where the rips form, so that’s always quite a challenge for us because where people swim one day, they’ll go back the next day and there might be a rip or a hole where they were quite happily swimming a few days before.

TSB recently gave you a grant as part of their support for Surf Life Saving New Zealand. What will you use it for?
We were lucky enough to receive $5000 from TSB, which is amazing, and we’re going to put it towards an ATV [all-terrain vehicle] training course for our members. [You need] trained people driving those – they can be quite dangerous. We’re also updating our stash of lifejackets, buying all-new lifejackets and helmets to use in and around the rocks.

Do you have any memorable rescues?
The serious rescues are quite vivid, but what really sticks in my mind and gives me satisfaction are just the thank yous. There was one, pulling two young girls out of a hole. I was just standing on the beach and saw them out of the corner of my eye. I jumped in, pulled them out and got them to safety. Their family was above and beyond thankful – they ended up making a donation, and they visit every year and give a talk to our junior surf groups.

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