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By stewartbaird on 2014-06-22 16:26:36
There are those to whom surfing is lifestyle, religion, and passion all rolled into one. Dedicated surfers are known to travel far and wide on merely a rumor of a good surfing beach. That’s why so many surfers find themselves in New Zealand, the country with the finest surf spots in the world.
There is more to New Zealand, of course, than its excellent surfing and beach holidays. The natural beauty is breathtaking, the people are laid back and friendly, and as their population is not as large as other countries, there are thousands of miles of uncrowded, unpolluted beaches.
New Zealand also has the reputation of being one of the safest and low-crime countries in the world, perfect for beach holidays. However, it’s always wise to take sensible precautions against petty theft.
New Zealand has 15,134 kilometers of coastline, 6,000 of which is exposed coastline that is easily accessible to a tasty mix of all kinds of breaks. For the uninitiated, the break in surfing is some kind of a permanent obstruction, for example a reef or bar, that causes an incoming wave to break and form a surfable wave, such as a barrel or curl.
New Zealand is made up of the North and South Islands. The North Island can be surfed nearly all year long. In the summertime, which in the Southern Hemisphere is December to March, there is hardly the need for a wet suit. The South Island’s waters are significantly colder and wet suit protection is in order.
As the Islands are long and narrow, it is easy to cross the entire country in search of another beach. This is definitely the biggest bang for your surfing buck anywhere. Let’s look at some of those beaches, classified from beginner to expert. The beaches are rated with stars by New Zealand surfers.
ORERE POINT Orere Point is on the East Coast, in Aukland, one of New Zealand’s population centers, but you can still look forward to lots of personal space. It’s a sheltered beach break, making the water warmer there than surrounding areas. The quality of the surf isn’t affected by tides. There are also many nice rentals for beach holidays nearby. Rated eight out of ten stars.
PAUANUI, COROMANDEL is located on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, a beloved beach holidays vacation spot about 1 1/2 hours from Aukland. The occasionally barreling waves beach break over sand and is generally forgiving to the newbie. Rated ten out ten stars.
For the intermediate surfer, there are many beaches custom made for you.
BETHELL’S BEACH, AUCKLAND The Maori name for this beach is Te Henga, meaning sand, and Bethell’s environs have been habited for over 1,000 years. It lies on the rugged west coast, and has a beach break. The Volunteer Surf Lifesaving Patrol is very active in this area. Rated seven out of ten stars.
MUNGAMANN KAIKORA lies on the east coast of the South Island. “Kaikora” means “meal of crayfish”, and indeed this beautiful area is full of sea creatures. You can surf with whales, dusky dolphins, and seals as your beach holiday”s companions. This beach is a point break and rated eight out of ten.
We haven’t forgotten you expert surfers. Here are some suggestions.
GREEN BAY is in the Aukland suburbs. This is one of the only beaches that is classified as “heavy localism”, meaning crowded, although how a surfer who grew up on, say, the US West Coast would view it, is up for discussion. This is a reef break with a left hand direction, with hollow, barreling waves and a very long ride. Rated nine out of ten.
PAPAMOA EAST is located on the Bay of Plenty, on the northeast coast of the North Island. There are miles of white sandy beaches and a beautiful view of the mighty Mt Maunganui. It has a beach breaks, but beware of tricky shore breaks; otherwise you’ll have a very long, barreling ride. Rated eight out of ten.
New Zealand is definitely the place if you prefer a solitary surf, but it is also a place where you can meet friendly folk you can have a beer with and discuss and debate endlessly about surfing.
Georgie has spent the last ten years traveling the world seeking out the best beach holidays. He calls Hawaii home because he doesn’t need a visa to go there and it has the best beaches in the USA for surf.