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Fun in the sun since the 1970s


By Julia Wade

3 MF-Surfday3-653Mangawhai’s Surf Beach became even more crowded recently, with hot sun and cool surf creating perfect conditions for Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Life Savers (MHVLS) annual Beach Day on January 27, an event which has been going for nearly 50 years. 

“The day is a public relations exercise for the surf club but we just want families to come along and have some fun,” MHVLS committee executive Rochelle Flavell says. 

“The public were encouraged to join in with the fun races and activities and also invited into the club for a look around our facilities in the afternoon.” 

Events included a water relay, BBQ, egg throwing, the ‘Big Dig’ where children search a portion of sand for prizes, children and adult beach flag races and sandcastle competitions. Unfortunately the iconic Tug-o-War event fell apart, literally, as the frays of the thick rope gave way under the strain, leaving contestants floundering – and laughing – in the sand.

A large number of strong swimmers took on the Head Rock race, with Sarah Hamilton and Darragh Walshe coming first in the women’s and men’s respectively, and Claire MacDonald and Nathan Strong first in junior girls and boys. 

Junior lifeguards Claire McDonald and Maddy Gorst, who are in training for a national junior guard event, also demonstrated a ‘Tube Rescue’ on the waters, watched by the large crowds. 

Coincidently beachgoers were also on hand for an added attraction, cheering on locals Simon Bennett and Jacquelyn Shirmer who took on the daunting 11km Sail Rock to Surf Beach swim. 

A passenger shuttle bus service operating from the village to the surf beach also eased the usual congestion and frustration of parking hassles. 
“We had eight lifeguards patrolling on the day and many off-duty lifeguards, junior surf guards and parents helping out,” Flavell says. 
“Many thanks to everyone including Mangawhai Butcher for sausages, Bammas Surf Shop and Domain Society for shuttle parking, and the many volunteers who worked so hard to make this day another success.”

3 MF-Surfday2a-911 3 MF-Surfday6-928 3 MF-Surfday4b-259 3 MF-Surfday1a-768 3 MF-Surfday5-351 3 MF-Surfday7-633
1: Brilliant sun, cool waters and fun activities attracted hundreds of people to Mangawhai Heads for a surf life saving event running since the 1970s.
2a:  Newly qualified lifeguard Donny Baxter signals swimmers to get ready for choppy waters and strong currents in the Head Rock race. 
3: SWEET SUMMER: Even with all that sand, the iconic lolly scramble always proves a favourite event. – PHOTO/Supplied
4b: Beach games weren’t all about the kids. Flag races brought out the inner child in many adult participants. 
5: Beach volleyball saw a few competitors also hit the sand. 
6: LG’s tagline ‘Life is Good’ is epitomised by three surfer girls. The electrical company also had a day at the Heads as part of their ‘7 beaches in 7 days’ promotion. 
7: Local lads Kacy Gillon, Kyle Reason and Jack Farmer enjoy the creativity of a sand car. 

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