A fourteen-year-old and two men were shot at while surfing at a secluded spot in New Zealand in an apparent attack by locals who did not want outsiders “using their waters”.
Police believe three shots were fired from the coast at the three surfers, who were in waters that are considered by some locals to be accessible by invitation only. A fisherman has previously been shot at in the same area.
The trio surfed in the waters, south of Albatross Point on New Zealand’s west coast, after travelling there by jet skis.
They told police that three shots were fired, including one that landed about ten to thirteen feet from the fourteen-year-old, who was surfing with his father and another man.
They later spotted two people on land who were screaming abuse at them.
Police urged locals to assist in identifying the pair, who were both believed to be men.
"It is extremely dangerous and if you put yourself in the fourteen-year-old boy’s shoes, extremely frightening," said Ōtorohanga police Sergeant Andy Connors.
"The second [shot] sounded a lot closer and the third one landed in the water adjacent to where they were. You’d be fearing the worst and petrified what’s going to happen in the next few minutes."
The two older surfers have reportedly been surfing together for 25 years and have visited the spot before.
Daniel Kereopa, a New Zealand surfer who has been invited to the spot by family members who live in the area, told stuff.co.nz: "Ever since I have known the place and the people that have cared for it, it’s generally been by invitation. [It’s] not affected by tourists, not promoted. People live there because they are born for that land and, unfortunately, it’s brought some attention by what’s happened down there."
John Gavala, a New Zealander who has been researching “surf rage”, said intimidation in the water was common but he had never heard of surfers being shot at.
"I’ve heard of some vandalism, slashed tyres and people getting over-protective of their breaks and of surf etiquette,” he told The New Zealand Herald.
"The worst I’ve heard is of a few dust-ups out on the headland. But even those were usually guys resolving issues started out of the water."