Surfing Catlins

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Surfing Catlins

The southeast coast of the South Island of New Zealand is still relatively uncharted territory as far as surfing is concerned. The Catlins offers abundant, exciting surf breaks. There is a treasure trove of uncharted potential reef breaks all along this coast, enough to keep you searching and surfing for months. Situated on latitude 46°South, in the heart of the Roaring Forties, with some of the harshest weather conditions in the country, this is the place where there is always a swell running. Surfers here spend more time waiting for the swell to drop and clean up to a rideable size, then for the swell to pick up.

Big waves are a common occurrence in the Catlins, that’s why the "Rex von Huben Big Wave Challenge", New Zealand’s only big wave competition, is held down here. There are also many surf spots that offer waves to all levels of surfers. Here we offer a few of the more well known spots on the Southern Scenic route. If you are brave enough to venture off the beaten path you will be sure to find unexplored waves, all to yourself, throughout this remarkable region.

Surfers heading off the beaten track must be aware that the area's weather patterns can be harsh and can change quickly. Many breaks are accessible through private land and permission must be sought from the owners. However crossing private properties is a privilege not a right and respect must be given to the landowners wishes.

The people of the "Deep South" are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality, this can also be said for the local surfers. When surfing in the Catlins, don't forget the respect the locals rule. If you are lucky enough they might even share one or two secret spots with you.


Check Catlins accommodation for a bed and a hot shower, on your Catlin’s surf mission.

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