Story: Lifesaving and surfing

Teardrop surf ski

Many lifesaving aids, including the surf ski, were developed first in Australia and adapted in New Zealand. In the 1930s, Don Wright of the Piha Surf Life Saving Club designed this improved, teardrop-shaped ski, which had greater lift in the bow to cope with New Zealand’s rolling waves. Soon the surf skis he built were being used around the country. He is pictured (left) with the improved surf ski and fellow lifeguards in front of the Piha club in the early 1940s.

Listen to former lifeguard Paddy Ryan compare lifesaving techniques over the years.

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (Lifesaving – veterans' event off Auckland/Reference number C911129C).

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Piha, Pearce Collection

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Lifesaving and surfing - Surf lifesaving develops', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 April 2024)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 12 Jun 2006