Surfing New Zealand, Surf Charters New Zealand- Waterways Travel Images
Surfing New Zealand, Surf Charters New Zealand- Waterways Travel
Two coastlines, a million nooks and crannies, constantly changing weather patterns, and lying directly in the path of the Southern Hemisphere swell machine = heaps of surf, mate. New Zealand is home to one of the longest left points in the world, and a couple of others that are close in length and quality. And all those long peninsulas and coves and bays and fjords and rivers and volcanoes add up to a country that is lined up one side and down the other with every kind of surf spot you can imagine.
In general, the west coast of the North Island is more consistent, gets bigger surf but has more blustery weather. The east coast is drier and warmer but less consistent, with a bigger variety of geography and possible spots.
Raglan is the most celebrated wave in New Zealand, made famous in the early 1960s by The Endless Summer and by hundreds of magazine trips and surf contests ever since. Raglan is a long, powerful wall that will let you work through every move in your repertoire, in triplicate, and then do it again switch foot at the end.
Shipwreck Bay is probably the second most famous spot in New Zealand, also because of The Endless Summer, and it’s another long left point at the north end of the north island, at the bottom end of Ninety Mile Beach.
On the east coast, Mount Maunganui is one of the main surfing centers of New Zealand: miles and mile of beachbreaks leading up to the base of the Mount – and then a water taxi or short paddle across to Matakana Island: the Outer Banks of New Zealand’s coast, the land of the hot offshores and the drying wetsuits, immortalized in Surfer Magazine as Puni’s Farm. South of there, from Gisborne down, the Mahia Peninsula is a lonely area loaded with the kind of surf that used to bring Miki Dora all the way to New Zealand to look for his lost Malibu. He kept coming back, so maybe he found it. And maybe it’s still there.
If you saw the Drive Through New Zealand show that played on Fuel, that gave a pretty good idea of how changeable the conditions are on the North Island: Piha and Raglan were blown out, cloudy, ragged, surly and wintery, while the east coast around Gisborne was blue skies, offshore and happy.
The South Island is to the North Island what Oregon is to California: wilder, colder, a lot of inaccessible coastline dotted here and there with perfect waves.
The most famous wave in the South Island is Mangamaunu, a perfect right point on the east coast above Kaikoura. Unlike a lot of surf spots in the South Island, this place is a hop, skip and a jump across the coast highway.