As reported by Jarrod Booker for NZHerald.co.nz.
A surfer is being praised for going to the rescue of two teenage girls swept out in rough seas yesterday.
Te Arahori Potaka-Osborne and Mikayla Scott-McKenzie, both 14, were in an inflatable dinghy at the beach at Puketa, south of Kaikoura, about 10.30am when they were caught out by the current.
“They were just mucking around in the little boat on the shore, and then they just got sucked out really quick,” said Te Arahori’s mother, Dianne Potaka.
“They were out in the boat for a while … They ended up getting tipped out.”
The pair were swallowing water, but lifejackets kept them afloat as they waited for help to reach them.
Ms Potaka said a friend of hers was trying to get out to the girls “but just kept getting pushed back in” because the waves were so big.
The alarm was raised at the local motor camp, and a surfer – known to Ms Potaka as Greg – who overheard what was happening grabbed his board and went to help.
He got through the breaking waves and reached Te Arahori, bringing her back to the beach.
The sea was so rough his surfboard broke during the rescue. The coastguard and a local helicopter were called into action, but by this time other locals had gathered to assist in getting Mikayla back to shore as well.
Ms Potaka said she was able to say only a quick thank-you to the surfer before attending to the girls, who were cold and tired but otherwise unhurt.
“I’m very grateful and thankful.”
For the full story, head to NZHerald.co.nz.