The relatively isolated south-east coast of the South Island is still largely undiscovered in surfing terms.
If you harbour a desire for exploration of new and exciting surfing hot spots there’s heaps of potential reef breaks along this coast. It’s a treasure trove of uncharted wave formations – enough to keep you searching and riding for a month – pure escapism in nature’s domain.
Kaka Point, south-east of Balclutha is the place to kick off with several beach breaks along the coast to Nugget Point, where the distinctive rock stacks remind you of rough-hewn nuggets of gold. Cannibal Bay and Catlins River Mouth offer beach breaks with power-packed, hollow waves energised by southerly swells.
Long Point (south of Owaka) is a top rated left-hand point break driven by a heavy southerly ground swell. Papatowai, reached via S.H. 92 has a quality beach break at the river mouth. Porpoise Bay near Waikawa works well in a variety of sea conditions so you can have fun camping at Waikawa and charging every day until you find the perfect barrel that doesn’t shut down.
On the untamed south coast, out from Riverton, is Colac Bay. Foveaux Strait southerly swells rule here, pushing up long vertical walls. The best surf riding is when the swells are around 2 metres high. The western point of the bay, called Nicks Point, has a superb right-hand point break, which is best at half to low tide in a westerly swell. Camping is available at Colac Bay and also Tuatapere and Riverton.
Beatons is a hot left-hand point break accessed through a private farm and is located south of Orepuki settlement. In the same area is Porridge, a left-hand point break also accessed through farmland. Porridge will really set you up for the day. If you manage to ride this break, which has the might of the Southern Ocean under it, you will be reliving the experience for months. Several other point breaks can be found along this coast but require careful assessment of the power of the heavy swells and vicious rips that can occur anytime.