Two teens who fell out of their kayaks off Whangamata early this afternoon were lucky fishermen came upon them within 20 minutes, a rescue helicopter crewman says.

The 15-year-old Hamilton boys were flown by Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter to Tauranga Hospital after they suffered hypothermia in the incident near Hauturu Island.

But helicopter crewman Leigh Sefton said the boys, who did not have wetsuits but were wearing lifejackets, were both talking as they were taken on board the helicopter.

"They had a mild touch of hypothermia so they're just taken through for observation, and one had swallowed a bit of water.


"They were pretty tail between the legs ... it's a good lesson for them."

The mother of one of the boys was waiting on shore for the pair.

Rough sea conditions meant the boys were unable to get back on to their kayaks after falling and with no distress call made were fortunate to be spotted by a couple of fishermen, who brought them ashore.

"They were lucky they were pulled out at that time ... hypothermia can escalate quickly."

The boys were spotted in the water near Hauturu Island, off Whangamata. Image / Google Maps
The boys were spotted in the water near Hauturu Island, off Whangamata. Image / Google Maps

There was a strong off-shore wind today, which would have knocked the temperature down by about 5C on the water, Sefton said.

The Herald was unable to confirm the sea temperature, but MetService meteorologist Josh Griffin said temperatures on the Coromandel Peninsula were around 15C to 16C today.

Winds were also gusting about 55km/h at noon, but were now easing, Griffin said.

Hauturu Island, also known as Clark Island, is the biggest of four islands in a group off Whangamata which are popular destinations for kayakers.


A 68-year-old man drowned while kayaking at nearby Whenuakura Island, also known as Donut Island, in December last year.

Donut Island has two small beaches in the centre of its collapsed blowhole.

Surf lifeguards did CPR when the man was brought back to the beach, but he could not be saved.