International and rural students learn surf safety at the beach as university year begins

Surf skills: Sam Hallet, of Hunter Surf Life Saving, pictured with Iranian student Sina Saghari at the beach skills program at Dixon Park on Thursday.

Surf skills: Sam Hallet, of Hunter Surf Life Saving, pictured with Iranian student Sina Saghari at the beach skills program at Dixon Park on Thursday.

SINA Saghari found out the hard way that despite its beauty, the sea can be a dangerous place.

Safety first: Hunter Surf Life Saving hosted a session explaining and demonstrating basic surf safety to international and rural students from the University of Newcastle at Dixon Park.

Safety first: Hunter Surf Life Saving hosted a session explaining and demonstrating basic surf safety to international and rural students from the University of Newcastle at Dixon Park.

The University of Newcastle architecture student, who moved here from Iran in 2016, dislocated his shoulder when a large wave swept him and some friends off Nobbys breakwall last month.

The scare prompted him to join other international and rural students at Dixon Park on Thursday to learn about beach culture and surf safety.

“I didn’t know anything about high tides, or king tides, or anything like that, because where I come from in Iran, there is no sea nearby,” he said. “This gave me a good opportunity to learn about it.”

Hunter Surf Life Saving chief executive Rhonda Scruton said the students learned how to recognise a rip, the importance of swimming between the flags, as well as other surf safety tips.

“People from other countries, and the country, often don’t know these things because they haven’t lived anywhere near the ocean before,” she said.