Last Updated on January 16, 2023

A 50-year-old man remains in hospital after being seriously injured in a sandboarding accident over the weekend at a popular west Auckland beach, where similar accidents had already occurred over the past couple of years.

According to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, a Westpac Helicopter was sent on Saturday afternoon at about 1:20pm to assist a man involved in a sandboarding accident at Bethells Beach, he was then flown to North Shore Hospital in a serious condition.

As Monday, the man remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Bethells Sand Dunes. Auckland, New Zealand.
The picturesque but perilous dunes of Bethells Beach, a popular spot for sandboarding but also the site of multiple accidents.

Sandboarding, a popular activity among thrill-seekers in Te Henga, is considered an extreme sport due to the high speeds and potential for injury. The activity involves riding a board down sand dunes, similar to snowboarding or surfing, and can be practiced at several locations across the country.

The dunes at Bethells Beach are a popular spot for Aucklanders, and similar accidents have been reported throughout the years.

In November 2020, a teenage girl was critically injured after falling down sand dunes. In 2018, a woman in her 40s was seriously injured after coming off her board during the ride, and in 2017, a man in his 30s suffered severe spinal injuries after losing control of his board.

But sand surfing accidents in New Zealand are not limited to Bethells Beach. In 2019, a tragic sandboarding accident occurred at the Paki Sand Dunes in Northland, resulting in the death of a 60-year old tourist from South Korea, who was hit by a bus in front of his family upon descending the dune.

And in 2009, another fatal sandboarding accident occurred in Hokianga, in which a young British tourist lost his life on dune locally known as “Suicide Hill”. In both cases, the victims had ignored local warnings and instructions when descending the dunes.

Despite the risks, sandboarding continues to be a popular activity for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts. Sandboarders are adviced to get acquainted with the risks of this extreme sport and to take the necessary safety precautions when descending the dunes. Sandboarding equipment should also be properly maintained and checked before each use.


Read also: Risks of Sandboarding

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