clear sky

Let's go surfing!

No Shoes, No problem.

By Katie Cox

If you don’t already know, the Bay of Plenty is a laid back beachy bit of paradise. It’s not uncommon to grab a coffee with sand between your toes and salt in your hair.

Summer is naturally the time of year most tend to think about Bay of Plenty beaches, however, local surfers know autumn is the best season for swell and uncrowded lineups. The water is still relatively warm (17-19℃) and the summer crowds have gone.

When there’s swell in the Bay of Plenty, fun beach breaks can be found from Waihi Beach in the northern most part of our region to Ōhope in the south. Perhaps the most popular and consistent surfing destination is Mount Maunganui and specifically the Main Beach, which offers up playful waves for surfers of all levels.

The Main beach is a horse shoe bay bordered at the northern end by the Bay of Plenty’s beloved Mauao and by Moturiki Island (also called Leisure Island and not really an island, more of a peninsula) at the southern end. Both of these features help to the keep the Main Beach sheltered from the wind in most directions. The placement of Moturiki also creates a rip and subsequently a sandbar producing long rights, locally known as "The Blowhole." This rip is handy for experienced surfers as a quick way to get out the back, but can also be dangerous for beginners who sometimes find themselves out of their depth when the surf gets big. The main beach can get a bit crowded as the swell is focussed into a relatively small area. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on conditions, know your experience level and be respectful of others enjoying their time in sea.

If crowds aren’t your favourite, pick a bank along “The Coast,” which locals refer to as the strip of coastline running from the south side of Moturiki to Tweed Street. Everyone tends to spread out a bit more along this stretch of fun beach break.

For even emptier lineups head north to Waihi Beach or south towards Papamoa, Pukehina, Whakatane and Ohope. EXPLORE.

The swell size and white sand beaches along the east coast of NZ are a bit more forgiving for surfers starting out and therefore makes for an excellent place to learn how to surf. Sign yourself up for a lesson from one of the many trusted surf schools in our region.

Hope to see you in the lineup soon or grabbing a coffee with salty hair and a sun kissed nose.

Surf schools are listed by geographic location starting in the north.

Waihi Beach Surf School - Waihi Beach


Hibiscus Surf School - Mount Maunganui


Discovery Surf School - Mount Maunganui


Mount Maunganui Surf Academy - Mount Maunganui


O’Neill Surf Academy - Mount Maunganui


Salt Spray Surf School - Ōhope


Created: 24 April 2018

Last updated: 19 June 2018