So you’re a serious surfer looking for a whole bunch of hot spots to check out with truckloads of varied breaks and no downtime.
Well, the tight curves of the Taranaki coastline serve up some of the best surf beaches in the country. When the swell’s up you can choose epic fast-breaking barrels coming from three points of the compass on any given day. New Plymouth’s Fitzroy Beach faces north, Stent Road faces west, and Opunake Beach faces south-west: so you are guaranteed adrenalin-pumping rides all within a 60 km radius.
The head turning, jaw-dropping action starts at New Plymouth’s main holiday spot, Fitzroy Beach. Heavy swells from any westerly quarter roll over offshore sandbanks and produce tasty, hollow waves all along the beach from East End to the shipping port. Back Beach just south of the port, and Paritutu Rock, also have good beach breaks stirred up by westerly winds.
Oakura Beach (14 kms south of New Plymouth) is a beautiful holiday resort with good sandbank breaks at high tide. It is a popular venue for surfing competitions. Nearby Ahu Ahu Road has left and right-hand reef breaks. Stent Road (37 kms from New Plymouth) is regarded by many as one of New Zealand’s top surfing spots. You take S.H.45 from New Plymouth and turn off just past the settlement of Warea. An outstanding right-hand wave breaks over a shallow reef on the point and travels into a boulder-strewn bay. The west-south-west orientation of the bay seems to attract every heavy swell that pounds the coast. The result is consistently good waves that make Stent Road a favourite spot for many surfers, but it is still uncrowded.
Opunake Beach (64 kms from New Plymouth) gathers up heavy seas from the southerly quarter and surfs best on an incoming tide in 1-2 metre swells. Desperation Point, a 400 metre paddle from Opunake Beach has left and right-hand reef breaks, which can rise up to 6 metres in a heavy swell. You can chase the waves here for the thrill of experiencing the big vertical drops, but caution is needed around the jutting reefs.
Have a look at Greenmeadows just south of Opunake where heavy swells throw up a long right-hand reef break.