Wounded surfer writes desperate message in the sand, seen by passer-by

Lone surfer battered onto rocks by large waves writes a desperate message on a remote beach for rescuers to find before collapsing – and his prayers are answered

  • The man lost control of his surfboard and was battered by surrounding rocks 
  • Wounded surfer walked for two hours but couldn’t find his way out of the area  
  • He resorted to writing HELP in the sand, luckily spotted by a passer-by on a walk
  • She called emergency services, who were able to transport the man to safety 

An injured surfer has been miraculously rescued after writing a desperate plea for help in the sand on a remote beach.

The man had been surfing alone at a remote West Auckland beach in New Zealand on Wednesday, when he lost control of his board and was swept onto sharp rocks by large waves. 

The exhausted beachgoer attempted to walk from Karekare Beach through surrounding bush tracks to get assistance but after two hours failed to find anyone and walked to nearby Mercer Bay.

He then resorted to writing the word HELP in the sand, praying that a passer-by would notice his desperate message. 

The wounded surfer attempted to walk through dense bush land for two hours, but failed, resorting to writing the word HELP in the sand in a desperate plea to be rescued

Luckily, his prayers were answered. 

A woman on a walking track noticed the surfer writing the message, before he collapsed in the sand and called the United North Piha Surf Club. 

Two lifeguards on jet ski’s were deployed from Piha armed with first aid equipment to search for the man, who after locating the surfer saw he had sustained serious injuries. 

After providing emergency first aid, the lifeguards transported the man back to Piha where he was taken to hospital.   

The wounded surfer’s wife had reported him missing to police in the early evening, after not hearing from him.

The man being treated by lifesavers was confirmed to be the missing person by SurfCom, Surf Life Saving’s rescue communications centre, who informed the man’s family. 

The injured surfer was described as ‘very lucky’ by Search and Rescue supervisor John-Michael Swannix.  

‘The message in the sand is not visible from the walking tracks at the northern end of Mercer Bay, so it was very lucky the informant and her friend were at the southern end and able to see it’.

Mr Swannix said that with Auckland in level three lockdown and less people out and about, the surfer was also lucky there was even someone walking the track at that crucial moment.  

He advised that when Auckland re-enters level two restrictions, people should always go surfing and swimming with another person. 

‘It just means there is someone there to look out for you or to get help if something does go wrong’, he said. 

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