New Zealand is an excellent surfing location. There are consistent waves, uncrowded beaches and plenty of great surf spots for everyone. You can surf in the morning and go snowboarding in the afternoon. There's not many places where you can find yourself in perfect quality surf with just a few friends, and a snowy mountain backdrop and with only a few cows and sheep watching you.
New Zealand's main source of swell comes from the low pressure systems of the roaring forties. But that's not all. New Zealand can pick up swell's from just about any direction. Waves can be generated from the south, east, west and north. This is why New Zealand has so many great surf spots. The coastline is very diverse, there is every kind of surf break imagniable. Conditions vary and there are wave sizes to keep any surfer happy.
Raglan, in Waikato on the North Island, is the New Zealand's best known surf spot. Head west from Hamilton 30 km to the coast and you'll find an amazing left hand point break that goe's on and on forever.....True! Piha is a small coastal settlement on the western coast of Auckland. Piha Beach is the birth place of surfing in NZ. Also try the Taranaki Peninsular, which is a volcanoe on the west of the north island. To find the best swell and wind conditions, drive 180 degrees around the coast road. There are lots of quality spots with great waves here, all quite close to each other. The Bay of Plenty is also a surfers paradise. The bay gets some quality waves especially during the Pacific's cyclone season. Mount Manganui, Tay Street, Waihi Beach, Whakatane Heads and Matakana Island are the most popular spots. Every surfer must check out Northland, the sub-tropical climate and the amazing coastline offer a surf experience not to forget.
The South Island can get bitterly cold in winter but there is still good quality surf and the beaches are totally uncrowded. Punakaiki surf options, on the West Coast can offer the travelling surfer an experience never to forget. The West Coast of New Zealand almost always has a large swell running, and crowds are non existent here. There are countless breaks all along the east of the South Island too. Dunedin has a variety of excellent breaks. Christchurch is situated at the edge of the Banks Peninsula, which can pick up surf from 180°.
Kaikoura is a popular surfing destination, with quality breaks up and down the coast. Kaikoura's surfing options are an assortment of reefs, left and right-hand point breaks and numerous beach breaks working in all kinds of swell. A couple of national compititions are held here every year. There is a local surf school and all of New Zealand's surf tour operators frequent the delectable waves in the region of Kaikoura.
The southeast coast of the South Island of New Zealand is still relatively uncharted territory as far as surfing is concerned. The Catlins surf 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 ride able size, then for the swell to pick up. Big waves are a common occurrence in the Catlin’s. Papatowai Beach, in the Catlins, is NZ's premier big wave surf location.
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