Surfers searching for perfect waves in out of the way places could find their nirvana in the sun drenched curving beaches of Hawke’s Bay.
Like Gisborne, this region attracts Pacific swells from various directions, so as soon as you acquire local knowledge you will be able to find the perfect wave.
Napier, New Zealand’s art deco capital, is the main centre of activity in the bay. Hardings Road 2 kms north of Napier next to the shipping port at Ahuriri, is a good place to start chasing waves. This right-hand point break needs a heavy swell to get it working. The Reef at the south end of Westshore Beach (3 kms north of Napier) surfs well in a 1.5 metre swell and access is easy.
Further up the coast are three little gems worth seeking out. Waipatiki has the most consistent beach break in heavy swells and Stingray Bay, out from Tangoio, has an exciting right-hand point break in easterly swells.
On the southern headland of Hawke’s Bay is the famous Cape Kidnappers gannet colony and wave-seekers can really score some unforgettable rides on this part of the coast. For example Awatoto river mouth at the south end of Napier’s colourful Marine Parade, has nice hollow waves, which break left and right off the bar on a rising tide. Haumoana (6 kms south of Awatoto) has a real sick right-hander that breaks over the shallow bar of the Tukituki River mouth, but watch the rip on outgoing tides. Te Awanga (16 kms east of Hastings) is the base for visits to the gannet colony and sits at the mouth of the Maraetotara River, where you can ride a good right-hand point and reef break in easterly swells.
Waimarama (32 kms south-east of Hastings) is a standout surf location with left and right-hand reef and beach breaks. This beach picks up some big southerly swells at times, throwing up heavy hollow waves that offer really sick tube rides. To the north is Ocean Beach, which has a multitude of hollow waves over its steep beach bars and changing sandbanks.