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New Zealand surfers shot at while riding local waves

Three surfers say they were shot at while surfing at a jealously guarded surf spot in New Zealand's North Is...

Posted: Aug. 21, 2018 9:32 AM
Updated: Aug. 21, 2018 9:32 AM

Three surfers say they were shot at while surfing at a jealously guarded surf spot in New Zealand's North Island, police say.

Three shots were fired from a nearby ridge, one of which landed in the water just meters from one of the surfers, a 14-year-old boy, local media reported.

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The surfers -- two adults and the teenage boy -- were riding waves at Te Maika off the Taharoa coast, near the entrance to Kawhia Harbour, last Thursday.

The shots were fired at them from two individuals onshore, the police report said. Their identity is currently unknown, Kawhia Police Senior Constable Jonathan Maoate said in a written statement.

New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ reported that the surfers who had been fired upon had hastily departed the surf spot after the incident.

"One of the bullets has hit just two meters away from the young fella ... naturally they were terrified and have left the area," police said, according to the report.

TVNZ added that the police had speculated that local may have fired the shots as a warning to outsiders to stay away, a practice known as "localism."

Localism is not confined to New Zealand; surfers the world over have been known to sometimes violently protect surf spots from encroachment from non-locals.

"Police would like to remind people that the ocean is for everyone's use and enjoyment," the police statement added.

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