More than 1000 people lined the water's edge at Mount Maunganui's main beach in a tribute for Hamish Rieger before the start of the Surf Life Saving Eastern Regional Senior Championships.

About 7.30am on Saturday a squadron of about 13 IRBs led a "fly-by" across the ocean, taking a special buoy out into the middle of Main Beach with messages from his lifeguard friends.

All was quiet on the beach as the surf lifesaving community said goodbye to their mate.

After a short address by Surf Life Saving New Zealand president Neal Ames, athletes, coaches and supporters gathered on the shore to observe a minute of silence in memory of Hamish and the contribution he made to surf lifesaving, as well as the contribution the Rieger family continues to make.


Hamish, 17, was swept out to sea on Saturday, January 23, after a large wave knocked him off a rock on Moturiki (Leisure) Island. His body was found the following day.

He was officially farewelled at an emotional funeral service on Friday, January 29, where more than 1000 friends, family and members of the surf lifesaving community gathered to pay their respects at St Thomas More Catholic Church.