Fancy a visit to a genuine, laid-back Kiwi surf town, which boasts some of the best summer weather, warm water and a bucketful of different surf breaks to suit board riders?
Gisborne’s marvellous surf beaches have attracted surfers since the early 1960’s. The coastline is affected by long ocean swells coming from both the east and south so you can usually catch a wave at one of the local beaches. Dawn surfing is a buzz because Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sunrise each day.
Waikanae Beach is the main town beach and is ideal for beginners to hone their board skills. Wainui Beach (6 kms from Gisborne) is the popular spot for surfers of all levels as it consistently provides good waves throughout the year. The best waves are found off the southern reef systems, known as the Stock Route, offering superb right and left-hand breaks. Have a close look at The Island, 1 km before Wainui, which many locals say holds Gisborne’s longest barrel waves. There are two good left-hand reef breaks here, which fire up in a big southerly swell, but you need to walk and paddle some way to reach the line up.
Makorori Point (8 kms from Gisborne) is a famous surf location, which has all the qualities of a perfect surfing hangout. A right-hander breaks over a shallow reef system setting up a long sweeping ride that is a surfer’s dream. Watch for a south or south-east swell and waves around 2 metres from mid to high tide for the epic wave that will replay over and over in your mind.
Makarori Centre is slightly north of the Point and produces good right and left breaks that build up over reefs and sandbars. The best conditions are swells from the south or east at mid to high tide. North Makarori also has the potential for good surf in easterly swells. Pouawa Beach (19 kms north of Gisborne) is another place to try in an easterly swell.
The East Cape area north of Gisborne, is worth a visit as it offers some good beach breaks at Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Waipiro Bay and Hicks Bay.