Five of New Zealand’s Popular Waves

New Zealand surfingNew Zealand is one of the most epic areas on Earth for those who love the out­doors. Some of the best surf­ing in the world can be found off the country’s coast and here are a few of the best spots to catch some waves.

Man­gahume
Man­gahume, rough­ly 60 miles south­west of New Ply­mouth, is a right-hand point break that stands a head above the rest when it comes to expert waves in New Zealand. The waters here are sol­id with plen­ty of hol­low bar­rels to keep things inter­est­ing, but the rocky out­crop­pings tend to pose a bit of a threat. The beach doesn’t lend itself well to fam­i­ly pic­nics, so you’ll most­ly find your­self sur­round­ed by fel­low surfers, but the waves are also too heavy for begin­ners to test their skills. Skip this one unless you’ve got lots of prac­tice under your belt.

Aramoana Spit
Con­sis­ten­cy is a desir­able trait when it comes to scop­ing out the best surf­ing avail­able, and the Aramoana Spit in Ota­go is def­i­nite­ly one of the most con­sis­tent waves in New Zealand. The groundswells here pro­vide fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­ni­ties through­out both the Spring and Sum­mer, with good waves stretch­ing into the Fall. The exposed beach break has both rights and lefts for those who like to switch things up. The best part is that the beach isn’t real­ly great for loung­ing so you won’t find it too crowd­ed even dur­ing the warmest months. The occa­sion­al finned preda­tor can be a threat here, so plan accord­ing­ly.

Raglan
New Zealand’s leg­endary surf­ing mec­ca has a lot going for it, from the sleepy beach town vibe to its surf­ing schools and sandy bars. It was made famous by a lit­tle surf­ing film you might’ve heard of, End­less Sum­mer, and has con­tin­ued to draw large crowds since its release back in 1966. The waves here are incred­i­bly con­sis­tent and the beach­es and bays are swarm­ing with left-hand point breaks that’ll keep you busy for weeks. Manu Bay, thought to have the most acces­si­ble left-hand breaks in the world, is per­fect for the adven­tur­ous surfer while Ocean Beach pro­vides a more laid-back oppor­tu­ni­ty to relax and enjoy the smoother waves.

Piha
Piha might not have the noto­ri­ety of places like Raglan, but it still pro­vides some of the most acces­si­ble and con­sis­tent surf along the west coast. Some­times tout­ed as the birth­place of surf­ing in New Zealand, Piha is a lazy sea­side town with some pret­ty glo­ri­ous views. There are mul­ti­ple rock for­ma­tions to watch out for, but the cur­rents here cause the waves to peel long enough to pro­vide some amaz­ing rides. With extra­or­di­nar­i­ly con­sis­tent water move­ments, it’s also one of the best places for begin­ners and casu­al surfers to test their met­tle, but with just enough rips to make it dif­fi­cult for experts along the north end. Inland you’ll have found some of the country’s great­est water­falls, bush walks, and moun­tain vis­tas.

Por­poise Bay
Por­poise Bay has a lit­tle some­thing for every­one. This gold­en stretch of sand if favored by both begin­ners and experts alike thanks to numer­ous breaks along the shores. The north­ern sec­tion of the shore­line is ham­mered by left-han­ders and punchy waves that’ll bowl over even the best, while the still pow­er­ful south­ern end of the beach pro­vides bet­ter oppor­tu­ni­ties for ama­teurs and fans of right-hand bar­rels. The loca­tion draws in cool­er tem­per­a­tures, so you’ll need a wet­suit if you don’t want to dis­cov­er the hor­rors of hypother­mia.