(SURF IN NEW ZEALAND)
INTRO When I planned to travel with my girlfriend Alejandra to New Zealand (NZ), I knew little about the country, everything that my brother Capi had told me about his “searching” and his life there for 3 months and the desire and dreams that since then Had to go.
Arriving on February 6 at Auckland Airport, New Zealand means arriving on your national day and soon you realize that it has little to do with Australia. The first thing you think about when you arrive in NZ is in nature, cows, sheep, cheeses, maori world and above all in that it is a paradise for all lovers of extreme sports (whatever you can think of). Agriculture, bohemian life, nature and relaxation is the natural time of this land; With many similarities to Cantabria (keeping distances), many times during the trip you will feel at home.
Do not expect the Maori to welcome you with a ” haere mai “, or a ” kia ora ” welcome; Neither outside nor inside the water … and is that the white foreign man or European ” pakeka ” is looked at with a lot of suspicion and is normal, after which the English people here. In the beginning, the Maori world will surprise you, but gradually you will understand it, respect it, and even love it, and it is an amazing culture with its art of tattooing ( mao moko ), its tattoos on the face, symbols and cult of nature The sea, the earth …).
Although there are many quality beaches in NZ, what you will find most are pointbreaks and reefbreaks; So the quality is guaranteed … that if, be prepared to do kms exploring, crossing farms to ask for permission to surf and to be able to check the spots. There are lots of waves everywhere and with the luck of being able to cross from the east-west or vice versa of the north island in a matter of 3-6 hours, depending on where you are and with an eye on the internet / predictions and wanting to explore and do Kms surfing is guaranteed. With cyclones arriving at the coasts of Dec-March (summer) and good swells during April-Oct the surfing in NZ is guaranteed.
From the beginning you will discover that surfing ( karekare ) has to be searched, explored, made and gained each bath, but many times the search will have its rewards. Here, in Aotearoa , as the Maori call their land ( whenua ) of the long white cloud, surfing is not the main thing, but one more sport that many people love, including Maori. Surfing is secondary, after individual daily life, except in exceptions and in some places clear as Raglan, one of the best left in the world.
At first you will make a mess with all the names of sites written in Maori, especially in the area of Auckland, where there are many beaches like Muriwai, O’neills, but certainly one of the most beautiful places is Piha ; A beautiful beach of black sand, separated by a rock in the middle (Lion Rock) and with tuberas waves and fun.
1) RAGLAN certainly is the “must” of NZ as far as surfing is concerned. A beautiful and quiet village with many options and lots of surfing culture. Once you have everything in your van follow the road to the bay and you will arrive at Wainui Beach, a beautiful beach, ideal for learning and where we were lucky to celebrate my birthday and attend the largest festival of Reggae NZ, the mythical Sound Splash Eco-Reggae Festival ; Or what comes to be the same to 3 days of music on top of this nature reserve and with the waves of Raglan in the background. I remember it was like a dream come true; From 15-17 Feb. was one of the biggest swells of the whole summer and coincided with this festival. So while you listened and danced the music of JAH , you were with an eye attentive to the sea, to see when and where was the best bathroom. I wish all my life were like this, love, reggae music and surfing.
RAGLAN for any surfer, especially for a goofy-footer, is a caramel. I remember waking up in the morning next to Ale and being 2 or 3 in the water, sometimes even nobody, go to the last point, Indicators and jump from the rocks and go surfing and paddling to the boat ramp, almost on the beach … and Is that although the 3 waves, Indicators, Whale Bay & Manu Bay , do not connect, epic days are very little. Undoubtedly , Indicators is the fastest wave and tubera, with sections that do not seem to go inside and suddenly you see that the tube reopens and opens; A cannon of wave and for my taste the longest, fastest and tubera of the 3. The only one is that it is the most sensitive to the wind. You can always play with the tides between the 3 sites, but if you really want to hurry and you are comfortable with your surfing, the take offs and barrels of Indicators are the indicated playground. The big days will connect even with whale bay , another caramelite of lefts, undoubtedly the softest of the 3, although many days and with the wind and the appropriate tide is a bomb. The only one is the entrance and exit (rocodromo) and the rock that is in the middle of the wave, which in small days separates the wave in 2.
The last, or 1st wave, that you will find on the way from Raglan to the nature reserve is The Point, or Manu Bay , for my taste the wave of more quality of the 3; As well as Indicators has power, speed and tubes, Whale Bay has cruising, carving and cut-backs, Manu Bay has it ALL; At low tide it is tubular and potent in its beginning, to then become playful of turns, reentrings and cutbacks and then it has another great section until the end.
The truth is that Raglan is a paradise of hard to say goodbye, of the many that are around the world, with very good waves and a bay that is designed and designed by God’s hand to surf and enjoy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
If the sea remains the voice is to go to Ruapuke, take a trip to the waterfalls or take the car and do 6 hrs, crossing one of the most beautiful areas of the north island (Hamilton, Cambridge, Matamata, Rotorua), direction The beaches of Whakatane (south of Bay of Plenty) until you reach Opotiki and from there you enter mountains and rivers to reach GISBORNE , East coast.
2) In GISBORNE we had a huge sea and we were able to surf and know the points in its climax. Gisborne has several quality beaches, Waikane, Pouawa, Whangara and especially ” The Pipeline “, a hilarious wave with black sand and transparent water and a lot of quality on the outskirts of Gisborne. Towards the north of Gisborne, the island of Tuamatu is a lefthand and right bank that connects with the beach of Sponge Bay at high tide, but on a high is a patch. Very good waves also in Makarori, with a point of rights and a very long lefthand. Further north to Te Araroa there are very good points and few people, probably due to the bad reputation of the locals and is that there are many areas of the trip where you will have to assess if the risk of being stolen is worth to catch good waves; Is the case of Tologa (left) and Waipiro (right). The good thing is that if the sea is outdated on the left of the bay, where the points are, right on the beach, you will have good waves. Waipiro is a haunting, strange, ghost town of fishermen, far from the hand of God, where you will have to go by a path of stones and earth until arriving at a right, where they will look at you badly 4 hung and where you will have to negotiate your surfing . Only if they want to see you surf, they will leave you; But, they will say no. It’s too far to play. Between these 2 points there is a good beach Tokomaru Bay and north of all is Horseshoes Bay and the beach of Hicks Bay. Good waves, but too far and hidden.
3) MAHIA PENINSULA
Undoubtedly one of the most incredible and wild sites on the northern island of NZ and with much surfing potential is the Mahia peninsula. At 1hr 30 min. South of Gisborne and with good waves on both sides of the peninsula, it is a magical place. The best option if the sea is out of date. Going down National Route 2 you will arrive at Nuhaka and from there take the road to Mahia and you will know when you have arrived, because you will feel that you are in paradise. Arriving on the west side of the peninsula, the most beautiful you will pass by Black’s Beach and suddenly you will see a sign ” ROLLING STONES” “How? This is the place that my brother Capi, Alejandra had told me so much about. “ What a more handsome point, a rock with a human face shape and rocks that form a world-class right, in crystalline waters on one side and a good left on the other. It needs a lot of sea, like its neighbor Railways (it will happen some farms and train tracks, of course). Then you will reach a very long beach with good eyes, Opoutama; And finally, you will reach the beautiful village of Mahia and Mahia Reef, which also needs a lot of sea.
The good thing about Mahia is that you cross from one side to another in nothing and although both need a lot of sea, chances are that if there is no wave in one place, in the other you are lucky.
On the west side of the peninsula is where the 2 jewels really are. MAHIA SPIT , a spectacular reef (one of the most curious I’ve ever seen) that throws a dry left and tubera over the reef in its 1st section (pure tube), then stay softer, but also intense to the shore, An olón. The right one also works well, but the good one is the left. The 2nd jewel, the treasure and best kept secret is LAST CHANCE , which we discovered thanks to a very rolled maori surfer. You’ll have to cross a farm (ask permission and say good morning to the lady) until your eyes light up and your feet start to run downhill, while your smile and your heart speed up and the next thing you feel is pure adrenaline. A left over rocks, intense wave and tubera; Of the best lefts I’ve surfed in my life. Eye with the robberies and the premises, I had no problem, but everyone comments. If you stay the sea, the beach and the point of Mahunga, what you see left looking at the sea from The Spit, is a very good option. Also Diners beach, it has beach tunes.
Mahia, her name says it all, many good reefs in both directions and good points and beaches. Mandatory site, when you think of NZ, crossing farms to surf isolated spots. The locals have not seen many guiris, so they are very suspicious, but if they see that you are respectful and when the fat comes, you will come closer and open your ears and listen to their magic and their secrets. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
South of MAHIA is 4) NAPIER, in Hawke’s Bay, the notes that my brother had on the maps and guides and what the locals told us were right. There’s a little bit of everything; Playitas, points and reefs, being Te Awanga the most outstanding and Cray Bay to the south. If you get as far down the coast this will be worth getting up to 5) CASTLEPOINT ; An amazing place, few people, many secret spots, but many kms and secondary roads. Only recommended if you are traveling with a long time or a good connoisseur of the area. The bombs here are: Seconds, Ngapotiki (spectacular right break point), The Spit, longest left and right wave of the highest quality and Tora Tora. A lot of potential, good searching if you want to surf alone.
6) WELLINGTON Capital of Aotearoa, NZ. Many waves of reef, but as soon as you arrive the wind, the fog, the rain and the cold creates a climate of total anti-surfing until for the most animated. The road is close to the sea and it is easy to see the conditions. Once you are so far to the South you may be more motivated to catch the Interislander (the boat that crosses the North and South Island) and go to the South Island of NZ, for what may be the trip of a lifetime. If you decide to stay in Wellington, the first impression you get is an industrial and railway city, but you will also discover that it is a very cosmopolitan, lively, bohemian city (I have never seen so many cafes) that is also immersed in Capitalism McDonalds. An air is given to San Francisco.
Following the surfing and away from Wellington to the north along the West coast you will start to see beautiful little beaches, ideal for learning to surf, such as Peka Peka, Otaki, Foxton … etc. Nothing powerful or spectacular, but they are beautiful places where you can take a relaxing bath and all beaches are close (5-10kms) from the main road, which goes north towards Wanganui.
Of all the west coast without hesitation, after Raglan, I would stay with 7) TARANAKI or what is the same the SURF HIGHWAY 45 , an amazing site with lots of waves, many of those that come in the guides. + Of 52 spots of reef in a few kms. A beautiful area with a lot of potential and with the Egmont mountain (2,518mts) in the background; While surfing you are like inside a fairy tale. It is a place with few surfers, usually the sites are hidden, you will have to pass farms and cross green fields with cows and bulls until you find some of the sites. The only but, because of its location, is a very windy area, so I recommend getting up early and surfing with the dawn and sunset.
Surf Highway 45 is one of the few designed and designed roads designed for surfers. From the Awakino estuary in the north, to the Patea estuary in the south (one of the most spectacular places to surf) you will find great waves, + 100 kms of pure surfing. Taranaki is a magnet, receives very good swells and is one of the most consistent sites in NZ. “Can you imagine surfing a left and right reef for yourself? This is the place. “La Ria de Patea is a magical place, with good waves in the estuary and if you go up to the lookout (fliparas) with the cliff and the beach to the right of the estuary. Going north toward Hawera , you enter less sea, but there are beautiful little beaches. One of my favorite areas in Taranaki is Opunake , a very nice little village with a very sheltered beach that launches very good right pipes. From there, you can climb to the top of the slope and you will see Desperation Point (left and right size) and Sky Williams on the right; Another very good reef breaking in both directions. You can walk for about 2 kms until you reach the following reefs, but I advise you to catch a car and go west to Opunake, until you reach a farm (ask permission to enter) that has a Kneeboarder graffiti, you will be in Mangahume, left spectacular. Following a little west + the next farm houses one of the best surf spots, Greenmeadows , a derechón. This area is brutal of waves. Further north following Surf Highway 45 secondary roads begin; At the end of each road that you take direction to the coast you will find a farito and 5-10 reefs great. The road to Kina Road, Stent Road, Paora Road, Weld Road, Ahu Ahu Road … well to Oakura.
STENT ROAD is for many (I include myself) the best right of Aotearoa (NZ), a matter of taste, but certainly an olón. Surely there will be no sign of Stent Road when you pass, but one painted in red on a rock and your intuition will do the rest.
North of Oakura there is a nice little beach, Back Beach and a couple of more roads up to Fitzroy Beach (good beach). From here begin the mouths of the rivers and very good waves like Waiwakaiho, Waitara and Awakino Heads.
As you can see there are many waves, but there are many + reefs waiting for you, with a beautiful mountain in the background, which is the 1st to see the swells. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 100% AOTEAROA
Going up from New Plymouth and Taranaki, if there are waves, you only want to go straight to Raglan, but if you stay there you will have 1,000 excursions (not all surfing), such as Waitamo Caves , Rotorua and its thermal baths, Lake Taupo with its Carving Stones, Huka Falls Waterfalls … and much more.
From Raglan via Hamilton you can climb back to Auckland and breathe again city and waves to the east and west, but the islands across the road slow the sea.
From Auckland to Cape Reinga , the mythical Pharaoh of Aotearoa (NZ) and the North + Point there are a thousand beautiful beaches. To save you the kms and the searching I recommend you especially the beaches of Cape Reinga, Scott Point and especially the zone of Ahipara , to the northwest; A left of the best of NZ, with Supertubes, Pines & Shipwreck (olones). There is not much to scratch in this area.
On the northeast coast I recommend mostly Hauhura Harbor, Mutukakakaha, Taupo Bay and the Manganui Heads area , Te Arai … but beforehand, I assure you that they are all far far away.
The best to go with a local, but you can despair. What if it is handsome is Bay of Plenty , with free camping by foot of beach, communes hippies and olitas beach like Ohope and Mt Maunganui; In my opinion + fame that wave quality. Above all I recommend the Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula . There are many islands in front and good reefs to explore by boat..and also, incredible places with little beaches, parkings at the foot of the beach, showers, BBQ, tranquility and olitas like, Whiritoa, Onemana, Opoutere, Tekaro and the famous Hot Water Beach ; Voted 10 + pretty beach in the world and where you can have your own thermal bathtub simply by digging in the sand. Personally, I stay with Somo or with many other beaches in NZ and I think any beach in the north of Spain devastates it.
The jewel of this area is WHANGAMATA , a pretty village with waves on the beach, at the mouth of the river and in the opposite bar … olón.
AOTEAROA (NZ) is an all-weather surf trip, in and out of the water. Engage and in many moments you will feel at home. The negative: the kms, the search and depends on the time in which you go, the cold; Although beforehand I say that with a 3/2 and a spring suit will go well. The positive: the amount of waves there are, the people, the Maori world and above all the beauty of Aotearoa.
I am left with a thousand magical moments with my girlfriend Alejandra throughout NZ and with how much the sea has given us in Raglan, Taranaki, Gisborne, Mahia … and all over the island.
I also stay with how much I have surfed during these 3 months for Australia and New Zealand and especially with how much I have seen enjoy and learn to Alejandra …. and with something very special for me, as is an authentic Maori, inside Of a very special town, explain to us and do us the honor of sharing a bad ceremonial moko , so as not only to lead our lives, families, stories in our minds and hearts, but also in our skin.
THANK YOU AOTEAROA … WE WILL RETURN
Text: Nachete García
SURF CANTABRA SCHOOL