A man's shortcut on the way home to Kawerau saw him floating out to sea on a log.

Whakatane Surf Lifesaving Club spokesman Craig Julian said they received a call from the police at 10am on Saturday telling them there was a man in need of rescue off the Whakatane coast.

"We were given a phone number to call and we ended up talking to a man who was 2.5 kilometres out at sea on a log," he said.

"The man was heading home from Opotiki to Kawerau when he decided to take a shortcut across the Ohiwa bar."


Julian said the crossing was attempted on an outgoing tide and it wasn't successful.

"He told us he had gone into the water at 7am, meaning he was in there for more than three hours," he said.

"He came across a log that he could float on."

The man used Google Maps and decided to take a shortcut at Ohiwa - and ended up being washed out to sea.
The man used Google Maps and decided to take a shortcut at Ohiwa - and ended up being washed out to sea.

Fully dressed, wearing pants and a jacket, the man also had a waterproof mobile phone, which meant he could call emergency services and report his calamity.

"We called him and he was able to direct us toward his location," Julian said.

"When we picked him up, he seemed okay. He was conversational and we weren't too alarmed."

The surf lifesavers took the man back to their club house where he was given a hot shower.

"After that he didn't look too good so we called an ambulance," he said.


St John Ambulance territory manager Richard Waterson said the 29-year-old man had been sleeping on the beach at Opotiki before deciding to make this way home.

"He looked at Google Maps on his phone, seeing there was a possible shortcut by crossing at Ohiwa, which would take him to Ohope," he said.

Waterson said the man was first picked up by a jetskier who transported him to the surf club IRB.

"He was recorded as a status three patient, his vital signs were okay, but he was a bit blueish," he said.

The man was taken by ambulance to Whakatane Hospital."

Bay of Plenty District Health Board spokesman James Fuller said the man had since been discharged from hospital.

- Whakatane Beacon