New Zealand Surfing Adventures

New Zealand

Organized custom road trips according to conditions and the ability level of guests with both the North and South Island possible.

LowPressure's Stormrider Surf Guide says 

Northland

A bit like South Africa, many surfers write off New Zealand as a surf destination because it’s too far or too cold. The cold argument doesn’t hold for Northland, where clear, warm sub-tropical waters wash both sides of a peninsula that benefits from a near 300° swell window. Any pulse from SSW all the way round to SE will hit countless uncrowded beaches, points and reefs. Northland is relatively narrow and at the widest point it’s less then 1 hours drive from east to west. The Twin Coast Discovery Highway leads to most of the surf locations so it’s perfectly suited to campervan touring. Piha was the birthplace of NZ surfing, introduced by two Californian lifeguards, Rick Stoner and Bing Copeland. 

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.


Gisborne

With nearly 3,500km (2190mi) of coastline, there are many areas to check on the North Island. On the east side, there are up to 8 surf regions: Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Mahia, Hawke’s Bay, Wairapapa and Wellington down south. Gisborne can get a bit too busy in summer, but further north towards East Cape, less crowded conditions quickly become apparent. Despite the endless pointbreak lefts of Raglan to practise on, many of New Zealand’s best competitive surfers come from the Gisborne area, because what it lacks in primo surf spots, is more than made up for by its consistency. Although the Gisborne zone surf is smaller and generally cleaner than the west coast, don’t think that it’s any less powerful. Above average surfer density combined with quality spots, conveniently hidden amidst the sunniest and most untouched part of New Zealand, gives rise to Gisborne’s reputation as the surf capital.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

 

Mahia Peninsula

The Mahia peninsula is located on the east coast of the North Island, between the cities of Gisborne and Napier. The peninsula is a beautiful, hilly promontory, with isolated golden sand beaches and wonderfully clear water. It has a flexible array of reefs, points and beaches, which between them will catch any swell direction going. The predominant SW winds are perfect for many of the exposed spots plus somewhere will always be offshore, no matter what the wind direction. It attracts people from all over the country to take part in the numerous outdoor sports that this area is suited to, yet there are no hotels, resorts or amusement parks and everything remains truly wild. The laid back, country feel is somewhat tempered by localism, so a low profile attitude is needed. 

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

 

Taranaki

New Zealand plunges far into the Southern Ocean and feels the full force of the Roaring Forties swells that march out of the deep. The North Island of the country is an easy place to visit, receives some classic waves and yet it is still relatively untapped by travelling surfers. Closer to the capitol Auckland, is New Zealand’s most famous wave; the super long, perfect left point of Raglan. Another 5hr south is the Taranaki area and the host of waves that fan around the base of Mt Egmont from Waitara in the north to Hawera in the south. This area gets the most swell and has the greatest concentration of quality spots on the North Island. There are a few surfers around who like to protect their secret spots, but there is a lot of breaks and plenty of scope for exploration.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.


Kaikoura

This zone is the lowest latitude destination in the Southern Hemisphere, so think cold. Cross-over boarders may be more interested in the winter snow capped peaks rather then the white capped ones in the sea. While much of South Island, like the West Coast or Dunedin, rely on quality beachbreaks, here is a zone littered with right pointbreaks, helping hardcore surfers avoid ice-cream headache paddle outs. South Island, aka Te Wai Pounamu meaning Jade Island, with 3,200km (2000mi) of coastline has a small population so expect few crowds at the worst. Archaeological remains indicate that Moa Hunters inhabited the Kaikoura Peninsula 900 years ago. To the Maori this is a place of great historical significance. The foothills of the Seaward Kaikoura Range extend down to the Pacific coast leaving a narrow corridor for rail and road access. Fishing settlements, seal and bird colonies cling to rocky shores, from which pods of dolphins and occasionally whales can be spotted.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

 

Dunedin

Otago and Southland offer some of the most challenging and rewarding surf breaks to be found anywhere in the country. Swells can get huge and it’s no wonder that the Rex Von Huben memorial Big Wave contest is held here, usually in October and attracting a hard-core of the country's best to celebrate the life of a legendary Dunedin local. Over the decades, Dunedin surfers have gained recognition as chargers and Papatowai is not the official tow-in break in New Zealand. North Otago spots are rare because good NE swells don’t quite break often but when they do, those points like Murderers give wordclass surfing. 

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.


Condition descriptions provided by the Operator

New Zealand is a real surfers paradise with a huge coastline to explore offering numerous secret spots and vast areas of wilderness where you’ll find beaches with nobody else in the water. Don’t be fooled like every surf destination New Zealand does have crowds especially near the main urban areas and the more famous spots such as Raglan and Piha. New Zealand has two very different coastlines the West Coast and East Coast, each having their own different characteristics. The West is reputed to be rough and wild, the East calmer and more picturesque, however Piha can produce pristine clean surf and Gisborne is renowned for powerful heavy waves. New Zealand has quality surf year round however there is a large difference between the seasons. During the summer months New Zealand experiences calmer conditions with predominant north easterly weather creating consistent north east swell for the north east coast and smaller offshore clean conditions for the west coast. Between the months of December through April New Zealand also receives tropical storms from the pacific producing epic cyclone swell lighting up many areas that lay dormant for the majority of the year. Winter is a different proposition all together where huge southerly storms in Antarctica produce large long period ground swells that wrap into protected points and reefs along both east and west coasts.


North Island

 Far North

The winterless north as it’s more commonly known is the ultimate surf destination offering New Zealand’s warmest and most humid climate, where boardshorts can easily be worn throughout the summer months. With the east and west coasts being only 15 minutes apart, you double your chances of scoring waves. If the Pacific coast is flat and onshore, jump in the truck and no doubt there will be offshore waves on the Tasman coast. The far north is home to one of the world’s best and longest left hand points Shipwrecks Bay, where 4WD vehicles are used to access 8km’s of exceptional point break action. Large southerly swells wrap into the points creating amazing long rides that can be over one kilometre long. The less consistent east coast, with the right swell direction can produce epic hollow barreling peaks on beautiful white sand beaches.

 Piha beach

  A 50 minute drive from Auckland international airport is Aucklands west coast, a beautiful rugged coastline that offers consistent quality and often very hollow beach breaks. Winter brings constant south west storms that can last for a week, while summer offers smaller cleaner offshore conditions. Piha’s black sand beach is set amongst rugged cliffs and dense bush valleys resulting in an inspiring and magical backdrop while surfing. South Piha has a quality left hand bar break which can be very hollow and has long workable walls. North Piha’s river mouth can produce quality sandbanks with long rippable walls and inside barrel sections, while caves at the far north of the beach can have amazing tubing peaks.

Raglan 

 Is a sleepy coastal town home to three excellent left hand point break that peel mechanically over volcanic reef and boulders. Raglan is remarkably consistent with a large headland allowing large southwest swells to wrap 90 degrees and is offshore in the prevailing south westerly winds. Manu bay is the first of the three world class points, featuring an intense barreling takeoff section followed by a long ripable wall. Whale Bay the next point out is the mellowest of the points, with a casual takeoff then the wave hits a rocky section and rifles down the line. The last point is indicators which is the fastest and longest of the points, having two sections Outsides and Insides. Outsides has an intense takeoff into a barrel followed by a long smashable wall often linking up to insides. Insides features a bowling takeoff followed by a fast wall as well as barrels on the inside valley section.

Gisborne       

Gisborne is New Zealands most famous surfing destination, home to high quality powerful hollow waves. Gisborne is extremely consistent coping the full brunt of southerly, easterly and northerly swells. Due to its remote location and relaxed atmosphere there is opportunity to score pumping waves with only a few local crew out. Gisborne is a great launching point for your surf adventure being the gateway to both the isolated Eastcape and fabled Mahia. The “Island” is Gisborne’s premier surf break, an offshore island requiring a solid paddle featuring grinding left and right hand reef breaks. Gisborne is also home to hollow beach breaks. Wainui Beach on its day can be compared to beach breaks found in Mexico and France, complete with intense barrels and high performance walls. Other classic beach breaks include Makarori and Pipe which are also very high quality. 

Taranaki

 Taranaki is one of New Zealand’s better known surf spots due to its consistency and large range of breaks including reefs, bars, points and beachies. Tarankai surfing profile has increased dramatically over the last few years as it is now home to a womens professional surfing event. Taranaki has a swell window of almost 180 degrees so there is always a chance of finding somewhere uncrowded that’s pumping and offshore. The north side features Waiwhakaiho a river bar break producing a solid a-frame peak with hollower rights and long walling rights. The jewel of Taranaki is Stent Road a big pumping right hand point break producing an intense take off followed by a fast wall expect anything from full on barrels to long cut back sections. South Taranaki has even more reef and point setups and is exposed to larger surf, the most well known spot Mungahumes a big exposed reef that can handle up to 15 foot. 


South Island

 Kaikoura

Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching, spectacular snow capped mountains and epic right hand point breaks. Kaikoura’s waves are intensified by deep ocean trenches and tidal upwellings. The majority of the surf breaks are located in a small geographic area and features its own micro climate in winter where mountains funnel down light offshore winds creating amazing glassy conditions uncommon in New Zealand. The water here can get cold so be sure to have a quality steamer and all the rubber accessories. Mungamanu is the crown jewel of the South Island an epic right hand point break that peels for hundreds of metres down a boulder point. Manga is the ultimate wave featuring outside, middle and inside sections with the inside being the pick producing long rippable walls and multiple barrel sections. Meatworks is as well magnet which is rarely flat in winter, producing grunty right and left peaks breaking over boulder reef. Kahutara is a legendary point break featuring freight train walls that jack up and fire down the line producing big barrels.

Dunedin

 Dunedin is one of New Zealand’s finest areas for surfing and one of the least populated. Home to an amazing range of beaches, bars, points and reefs. If you’re keen to adventure there’s definitely something for everyone. In Dunedin marine life and cold temperatures add another dimension to your surf with snow often down to the water line and abundant seals, dolphins and the occasional shark. Be prepared to wear a lot of rubber as Dunedin gets cold but the reward is tenfold. Dunedin almost has too many options, here is a few of the best. Murdering Bay is a quality right hand point break that produces long peeling waves complete with outside manoeuvre sections and inside tube rides. Aramoana

Spit and Allens Beach are two epic beach breaks consisting of heavy barrelling peaks. 

Fiordland

 Located on the south western side of the south island, Fiordland  is  the most isolated parts of New Zealand, providing surfers with a feeling of remote wilderness experienced in few places around the globe. Southwest New Zealand is home to snow-capped mountains, rivers of ice, deep lakes, unbroken forests and tussock grasslands producing a landscape of exceptional beauty. There is never a shortage of swell in Fiordland with large south swells wrapping into the numerous point and reef breaks, while smaller west swells being ideal for the beachies or river mouths. The main surfing area in Fiordland is Big Bay aptly named for being a large bay open to large swell window and able to handle winds from a variety of directions. The main break is ‘Orchards’ a grunty A-frame reef that handles almost any swell, further north are a variety of reef and points while to the south there are sucky beachies and an extermely hollow river mouth.