The City of Sails is spoiled for choice surf locations, with two coasts and several northern beaches just an hours drive from downtown.

Big city surfers, from the greenest grommets to the craziest enchiladas, head west, to ride every wild, whipped-up wave from Whatipu to Muriwai. There are wicked foam-flecked rollers out there, with A-frame peaks. At times rogue sets assault this exposed coastline and wipe you out. But you just have to be out there charging for the fun and excitement value.

The fun starts at Piha (40 kms west of Auckland) where the surf rocks, the views are stunning and the après-surf partying is wild. This is the most popular west coast beach in New Zealand and has cool left and right-handers at South Piha and an awesome right-hander at North Piha. The sick outer breaks are recommended for more experienced surfers.

Muriwai (50 kms from Auckland) has a proud heritage, as surfing was first demonstrated to surf club members way back in 1915. The beach has easy access and an abundance of waves, including some great barrels. Muriwai Beach stretches 30 kms up to the Kaipara Harbour, the entire beach being classified as a public road. The best surfing is at the southern headland and off the river mouth 1 km north.

Just over the hill from Muriwai is Maori Bay with left and right-hand point breaks in any winds from an easterly quarter. The rocky points throw up some sick wall-like waves, which inexperienced riders should avoid.

Bethells Beach (8 km south of Muriwai) is best surfed on moderate swells from the east. The beach breaks can be quite enjoyable on an incoming tide but beware of rips and holes on outgoing tides. Just over the northern headland is O’Neill’s Bay, which is a very popular playground boasting a fun-filled right-hander off the southern point.

Many locals rave about Karekare Beach (4 km south of Piha) as the quintessential surf-ripping venue. A consistent left-hander rolls off the island in light easterlies and surfs well on an incoming tide. There is a fast point break at the northern rocky point and messy beach breaks in the middle of the bay. Outgoing tides produce powerful rips so beginners may wish to watch the action from the shore.