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‘Kids being kids’

Up to 90 Gisborne kids a day are making the most of a free YMCA holiday programme which offers the use of the Olympic pools and supervised surfing and stand-up paddleboarding at Midway Beach.

Programme manager Cam McCready said over the course of the programme he sees the kids get more confident in the water and in the end they are catching their own waves.

The feedback they get is that the participants love the water-based activities and the relaxed nature of the programme. They also get to meet other kids of their age, he said. “We provide a great space for kids to be kids,” he says.

One of the programme supervisors Mahalia Dobbie said they could have up to 12 boards out at any one time and there was a ratio of one supervisor for six children. There were usually two supervisors in the water and two on the beach.

She said because some of the youngsters were spending more than four hours in the sea, they were getting some good surfing skills.

A barbecue lunch is provided and they go home tired and happy.

They also have the use of kayaks which they can take out in the ocean when there's no swell or up the river. On wet days they also have the option of going back to the YMCA stadium and doing sport and games.

The YMCA holiday programme is available to children aged 11 to 17 and people need to register outside the Olympic Pool between 9.30am and 10am each morning to attend. It runs until January 24.

PREPARE FOR IMPACT: Messiah Tiopira about to hit the water of the diving pool.
EASY AS: Calm conditions at Midway Beach yesterday made stand-up paddleboarding look a breeze for Lochie Bowden. Last week the swell was up, making surfing and paddle boarding a lot more challenging with all the YMCA holiday programme supervisors working hard to make sure everyone stayed safe.
What goes up . . . Billy Awatere plummets towards the water of the Olympic Pool's diving pool.
Let's go surfing now: Tiana Awatere tries her hand at surfing as part of the YMCA holiday programme.
YMCA Holiday Programme -