Kiwis suffer from burning feet as scorching temperatures heat Auckland's beaches

Kiwis have complained of severe burns and blisters on their feet after walking on hot sand.
Kiwis have complained of severe burns and blisters on their feet after walking on hot sand. Photo credit: Getty Images

With the sand heating up on Auckland's west coast and more people swimming into rips, lifeguards have been kept busy over the weekend. 

The sand's temperature has reached dangerous levels, with people reporting peeling soles of their feet and blistering after being on the beach. 

On Saturday, surf lifeguards in Raglan recorded 4500 beachgoers, many of them from the music festival Soundsplash, while on Sunday lifeguards recorded 3000 people at Auckland's Takapuna Beach.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) revealed they had rescued a total of 57 people on Saturday and Sunday - with 33 of them in the Northern Region. 

"The surf lifeguards did a fantastic job of keeping watch over all those people. It's not an easy job, and we appreciate the teamwork that goes into making sure beachgoers return home safely," SLSNZ CEO Steve Fisher said. 

"It certainly requires effort from everyone - whether they're at the water's edge, in the tower, or in the club."

SLSNZ said they are expecting busy weekends ahead, with hot temperatures and more sunshine on the way.

"There are a number of things people must do to ensure they are safe, including checking to find a lifeguarded beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags, which is the safest place to be," Fisher said.

He said while the beach is a great place to cool down, beachgoers must be prepared for the hot conditions, including hot sand.

Surf lifeguards at Piha dealt with multiple people who suffered burns on their feet on Saturday. 

"While most of these burns were able to be dealt with relatively easily, one person did suffer deep and extensive burns which required assistance from Hato Hone St John," Fisher said.

"It's a good reminder to always have the correct gear when heading to the beach, especially on black sand beaches. Footwear is a must."

One Auckland resident, 21-year-old Zane, told Newshub he visits Piha frequently and described the temperature of black sand over the weekend as "out the gate".

"Honestly, for me, living in New Zealand and going to beaches all the time, the sand is often hot and I'm pretty used to that. But out at Piha over the weekend this was next level," he said.

"The sand's temperature was increasing as the day got hotter," he added. 

"I was sprinting down the beach to the ocean because it was so hot." 

He said he only lasted about 20 metres on the sand before having to jump into the water. 

However, once he was in the water, he said the pain didn't go away. 

"Even being in the ocean, it didn't cool down, because the sand sticks to your feet. It felt like my feet were really burning up at this point," he told Newshub.

"It was so painful. I checked my feet later at home to check if there were blisters, and there were.

"There were little blisters all over the bottom of my feet."  

He recommends people wear shoes over slides as "the sand gets into your slides and on your feet". 

When asked what his message was to people planning on going to the beach barefoot, he said "stay away from the sand, steer clear and keep kids away".

SLSNZ Beach and Coastal Safety Messages: 

1. Know how to float 

If you don't know how to float, don't go into the water. Just being able to float when you are in the water can increase your chance of survival. Floating allows you to calm yourself and keep your airways out of the water. Practice or get some lessons in the pool before you head to the beach. 

2. Find the safest place to swim 

Check to find a lifeguarded beach, and always swim between the red and yellow flags. 

3. If in doubt, stay out 

Waves can be bigger than they look, and weather conditions can change quickly. If you feel uncomfortable about getting into the water, stay out. 

4. Take care of others 

Always keep children within arm's reach in or near the water. Waves can move quickly and unexpectedly and can knock kids off their feet and sweep them away. 

5. Know how to get help 

If someone in the water is in trouble and surf lifeguards are on patrol, let them know. If you can't see any surf lifeguards, call 111 and ask for police. If you're in the water and in trouble yourself, signal for help.