Close to 600 students from 17 schools throughout West and South Auckland participated in the programme learning about beach safety and hitting the water for a surf lesson.
The screams of laughter, hooting and hollering from the school children while taking part in their lessons was testament to the fun they had in the water.
"I have never come across so many excited youngsters in all my time as a surf coach and as the Development Officer for Surfing New Zealand" said Lee Ryan who delivered the three week long course.
"This opportunity, provided thanks to the support of ASB Community Trust, has broadened the horizons of many young kids who are now excited to get back into the ocean and give surfing another shot. Most importantly, it taught the participants water safety at the beach and how to be safe in this environment. That was a major barrier at the start of the programme and I think we have lowered this barrier by way of introducing them to the ocean in a fun way" added Ryan.
Many of the schools discussed the apprehension from parents who were weary of sending their children into the ocean at Piha. However, once the children hit the water in a controlled environment, the elation on their faces during and after the lessons was clear for all to see.
The programme was aimed at Year 8 and below school children. The students were all bussed out to Piha where they took part in a fun-filled practical lesson in the water with five professional surf instructors. Students also took in theory on land prior to getting wet where they learnt about the ocean and ways to stay safe in the water as well as the best techniques to get up and riding and enjoy the thrill of catching waves.
The programme follows on from the successful implementation of the Kiwi Sport Have A Go Surfing Days that have been held in Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Wellington. Over 1100 eager youngsters from forty schools have had a taste of surfing in these five regions, some of whom are now hooked on the sport.
The learn to surf programme is the first step of the development pathway for surfers who can then move on to surfing at events. Events include opportunities and club and regional level as well as national events such as the Primary School Championships, the New Zealand Grommet Series which offers three divisions for boys and girls - Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 and the Regional and National Scholastic Championships held each year.
For more information on the ASB Community Trust Have A Go Surfing Days please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, please contact Surfing New Zealand Development Manager Lee Ryan on 0211160160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.