Most travelers are unaware that New Zealand is a great surfing country, with dream spots and countless schools growing across the country. Despite its elite image, surfing is a very accessible and popular sport. The ideal is to learn when you are young, of course, but you can start at any age.
With its two main islands spread out in the Pacific, the sea is never far in New Zealand.
The deserted beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, more than 6,000 kilometers.
People surf all year round, but mostly in combination, with the exception of the sunny summer months in the northern part of the country.
This article is essentially dedicated to beginners, and those of you who have never touched a surfboard in your life, but want to learn how to surf while in New Zealand.
Raglan and Saint Clair are among the best surfing beaches in the world, but the All Blacks’ successin rugby outshines all other sports.
That is after all not a problem, because you will often have the waves to yourself! On the condition of being able to stand up on a surfboard, of course …
Trying to learn to navigate yourself is an insurmountable challenge.
Considering that an unsuitable surfboard is enough to easily discourage beginners. Only a real professional can safely teach you the proper reflexes, and help you choose the right gear.
The price of the lessons is not excessive, and the best schools claim to be able to teach you to stand up on a surfboard in less than three hours, even if you are a complete beginner.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait weeks to successfully stand on a surfboard. Of course, you will fail over and over again in the beginning, but this is the price to pay to impress your friends after the holidays.
A dozen lessons are essential to learning how to ride the waves correctly. But already at the end of the first lesson, most beginners are able to get up for a few moments. To continue progressing, it is essential not to fear ridicule, and above all you have to seek fun.
Don’t imagine spending six hours straight in the water: an hour of surfing a day is already exceptional for a beginner, especially if the water is cool.
Because surfing is a very physical sport that makes all the muscles of the body work. If the unavoidable pains disappear in a few days (think about warming up before going to the water), it is necessary to take breaks between sessions.
Surf instructors say they can get you to stand on a surfboard in just three hours? This is really possible, but only if you give yourself 100% and choose your school carefully. We will see in detail how an initiation to surfing takes place in New Zealand.
Can you learn to sail in three hours?
Theory is useful, but you cannot learn to surf simply by repeating movements on the beach. You will have to learn to share the waves and respect the other surfers according to the respected etiquette around the world.
This may surprise you, but part of your lesson will take place on dry land. You need to learn how to recognize the waves that can be taken before you even enter the water. A wave that breaks along its entire length should not always be surfed contrary to popular belief.
The choice of board is even more decisive, and is not limited to a question of length or thickness. A real competition surfboard weighs 4-9kg, and the best ones are built for expert surfers – the beginner will miraculously get on it for a few seconds before losing control.
It can be stated with certainty that the vast majority of accidents that affect beginners are related to unintentional collisions with the surfboard.
That is why learning always starts with a simple rigid foam board, which is not fast, but stable and easier to master.
Of course, not everyone is progressing at the same rate.
As with skiing, children learn more easily than adults who intellectualize movements rather than letting go.
Of course, the material and the combination are provided by the organizer. At the end of this article, I will give you the exhaustive list of all the certified surf schools. They all dispense with quality training, but the two best schools are located in Raglan and Dunedin.
This may seem obvious, but surfing involves knowing how to swim properly in the sea without fear of going underwater, which happens very often when taking lessons. One must remain modest in all circumstances, because being able to get up on a surfboard does not exempt anyone from observing basic safety rules.
The main rule in New Zealand is to surf only near beaches supervised by lifeguards. Currents can turn out stronger than expected, and rapidly changing weather conditions can surprise everyone.
In surfing, communication is essential and you should always signal your intentions to other surfers. You will usually learn the main rules and etiquette of surfing during your first lesson.
Trying to learn surfing without a teacher is the best way to annoy or endanger other surfers if you lose control of your surfboard.
Unless you are an experienced surfer, you will never surf alone and will practice exclusively in areas where you have feet, without rushing into rolls well above your means.
Even if you can’t be on the surfboard, you will have fun.
Let’s focus on finishing the classic beginner’s mistake of choosing an unsuitable surfboard, mainly because of its style, to the detriment of everything else.
There is no shame being a newbie to a surf shop. The foam board may not be the fastest, but it reduces the risk of injury for beginners.
Where are the best surf spots in New Zealand?
If you really need to choose between the two main islands of the country, I would say that the North Island offers more surf spots than the South Island, with the advantage of allowing swimming without a combination during the summer months. But the South Island does more than defend itself as we will see.
I confirm that the best waves in New Zealand are found along the black sand beaches of the West Coast of the North Island.
Considered the best surfing spot in the entire country, Raglan is a small eco-village whose heart beats to the rhythm of surfing all year round.
In reality, Raglan is just a small part of the legendary Speed Highway # 45, nicknamed “Surf Highway” by the locals.
The path runs along the Taranaki coastline offering a succession of uninterrupted beaches to surfers of all skill levels.
It is no coincidence that the best surf schools in the country are mainly concentrated near Raglan and the surrounding areas. Further north, the Auckland region is full of surprise, with Piha, a true postcard landscape. The colossal volcanic rock in the middle of the beach looks like a lion watching the surfers.
This is the advantage of living in New Zealand where surfing is a classic weekend activity. Muriwai beach which is only half an hour from Auckland and Lyall Bay which is a few minutes from Wellington are the most accessible beaches, but there are so many others! Tauranga or Gisborne on the East Coast are also very popular with beginners and surf professionals.
If the Jade Island doesn’t offer as many famous surf spots as the North Island, it is mainly due to its wild nature.
The surf beaches are mainly on the East Coast. Despite this, Sur Island has the second best surf spot in the entire country.
Saint Clair is Dunedin’s main beach. Immense, it hosts extensive international competitions, such as the Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour. With waves crashing on both sides, there’s room for everyone, even if Saint Clair tends to get crowded in the summer.
Saint Clair Beach is the best place on the South Island.
The Kaikoura Peninsula on the South Island is a renowned surf spot.
Still on the East Coast, surfers find their happiness from Karitane to Brigton, but it is on the way up to Christchurch that they find a myriad of spots. Then comesKaikoura, on a peninsula famous for its whales, and where sea lions sometimes have fun climbing on surfboard.…