Riders with power under their feet took to the water at Karioitahi Beach yesterday for thrills and spills in the surf at the Festival of Freeride.

Competitors on personal water craft — or jetskis — pulled off some stunning manoeuvres, especially in the feature classes. Riders tried out the "biggest air" class, the "sickest trick" or attempted the "cherry popper" which involved a first attempt at a back flip.

The beach was closed for safety.

Swimmers heading to the coast during the rest of summer are being reminded of the dangers of rips in a water safety campaign. The video programme, launched by TSB and Surf Life Saving NZ, starts today on social media and includes stories from four people sharing their own terrifying experiences about being caught in rip currents. Rips claimed the lives of 51 people in the last decade.

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Surf Life Saving NZ chief executive Paul Dalton said: "Nobody is stronger than a rip. If you relax and float, raise your hand and ride the rip you'll have the best chance of getting to safety."

Jetskier Richard Webb of Glenbrook gets in some practise for the Festival of Freeride. Photo / Phibbs Visuals
Jetskier Richard Webb of Glenbrook gets in some practise for the Festival of Freeride. Photo / Phibbs Visuals

David Toomey, who stars in one of the videos, said he felt powerless when he was caught in a rip while swimming at Palm Beach on Waiheke Island in December.

"I started to panic and thrash about in the water, I could feel my breath getting shallow and I was getting nowhere. I managed to get to some rocks and recover before walking as far as possible around the rip and swimming back to shore."

The campaign reminds people to remember the three Rs. Relax and float, raise your hand and ride the rip.