Nestled in the northern hills of Hawke's Bay lies Waipatiki Beach, a beautiful but remote patch of land that raises unique challenges for lifeguards patrolling it.

Hawke's Bay Regional Guard Supervisor Jacob Crawley said surf conditions had been fairly flat in recent weeks, but added this didn't mean conditions weren't dangerous.

"Being a surf beach it's changing constantly; sometimes it can have a really deep drop off and sometimes it could be shallow for quite a way out. People shouldn't swim alone and if in doubt, don't go out."

A rural spot, Waipatiki Beach doesn't have its own life saving club but instead has paid patrols in the hottest months of the year.


Mr Crawley said lifeguards patrol the beach from December 18 to late January and at least three were stationed on the beach between 10am and 5pm seven days a week during this time.

"Last year there was a lot of small assists; people getting caught out of their depth and lifeguards having to assist them into shallower water.

"We didn't have anything too major in terms of rescues, however it's good for people to be advised that the walks around the side of the cliffs can be hazardous at times. They're steep and can be a little bit slippery as well."

Earlier this month a teenager was pulled unconscious from the waters of Waipatiki and taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter.

The 15-year-old female was initially in a serious condition but stabilised and was soon released from the hospital.

Mr Crawley said the biggest challenge for lifeguards patrolling the rural patch of beach was its remoteness.

"It's isolated and really far out. It takes quite a long time for an ambulance to get out there, if there was need, and there's really spotty cellphone reception as well so it might not even be easy to phone an ambulance on the beach at times."

This was another "element" of the work the guards, many of whom were in their late teens or early 20s, did out at the northern beach, he said.


"They all started off as volunteers and are still active volunteers."

Mr Crawley said while there was no club to relieve the patrol teams, they did set up a mobile patrol tower last year that worked well.

"We set that up on the beach and that was really good to get the guards out of the elements. We'll be setting that up over the next couple of days."