Life is a beach if you're a surf lifeguard.

Palmerston North Surf Lifesaving Club members Abbie Bognuda and Britney O'Hara are patrolling Himatangi Beach with Feargus Scherczer, who is in New Zealand for six weeks, and agreed their lives revolved around surf lifesaving.

They are on paid duty Monday to Friday from 11am to 6pm and return to the beach on the weekends as volunteers.

Britney, as part of the Foxton Surf Club also patrols at Foxton Beach on weekends.


Abbie Bognuda, 17, a student at PNGHS said she became interested when some members of her family were lifeguards.

"It looked like fun so I had a go on some of the equipment."

She joined the Palmerston North Surf Life Saving Club as a junior at age 13 and at the required minimum age of 14 qualified as a lifeguard and started patrolling on the beach.

She continued her qualifications become a driver and IRB crewperson and recently qualified as a patrol captain.

Britney O'Hara, 18, has just finished at Freyberg High and said she'll take a gap year in 2020.

O'Hara was a competitive swimmer but an injury prevented her continuing.

She also joined the PNSLC at aged 13 and qualified as a lifeguard at age14.

"I trained at the Lido during the week with the PN Surf Lifesaving Club and Abbie's sister."


A suggestion they are selfless and fearless are words not in their vocabulary.

Both girls said everyone has their own skillsets they brought to being a lifeguard, the club, patrolling and at competitions.

There were also the connections they made at the camps where lifeguards from around the country came to train and where a lot of good friendships are developed.

Feargus Scherczer, 21, is a senior with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) on the north-east coast in the UK.

The RNLI has life boats and lifeguards.

This summer was an opportunity for Scherczer to take the position of patrol captain with the local lifeguards on Himatangi Beach, and after the stint, he'll travel in the South Island before heading back to the UK.

Although he started as a lifeguard aged 18, Scherczer said he surfed for years.

"We are really well-supported in lifesaving and it is encouraging. It is not elitist."

The paid lifeguard service which patrols the beach Monday to Friday from December 16 to January 24, is funded through grants from the Manawatū District Council and Palmerston North City Council.

The club provides the facilities and equipment.

The PNSLC has been providing a community service to the Manawatū Region at Himatangi Beach since 1947.

Volunteer Surf Lifesaving members patrol Himatangi Beach on weekends from Saturday the November 30 to March 29.

PNSLC chair Alec Mackay says the club is always looking for new members.

"There is a role for everyone within the movement.

"If you are interested, come and have a talk with the lifeguards on the beach or visit our website

"Our juniors continue to train at the Lido every Sunday morning from 9am to 10am with the club's swim coach.

"If you are keen to join, get your mum or dad to bring you to the pool with your togs and goggles and have a swim."

The PNSLC nights are every Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8pm to 9pm at the Lido.

"The Tuesday and Thursday night pool sessions are run by our coach who will challenge you to be the best you can be."

Check the surf conditions on the Horizons Regional Council website before jumping in the car with the pictures updated on the half hour: