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Surf culture in Pāpāmoa

Every surfer knows the benefits of finding a great sand bank — the contour of the bottom shapes the waves above, and a great sandbank can make all the difference to a good session.  

Sandbank Cafe, which is conveniently located above sea level, has accomplished the same feat by helping to shape and foster the rising surf culture in Pāpāmoa. Sandbank Cafe is not your normal cafe, in fact, coffee, smoothies and scones are served out of a purpose built 1976 Bedford van which can be found parked as close to the Pacific Ocean as possible at the Pāpāmoa Domain. On any given sunny morning, local beach dwellers, surfers and dog walkers sip a coffee by the sea, a communal gathering space to discuss ocean conditions and share a laugh before heading off to work or out for a surf.  

We caught up with owner and local surfer, Lisa Fever on a beautiful crisp winters day to grab a coffee and have a chat.  

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HOW DID SANDBANK COME TO BE?

“The Sandbank was formed in 2016 as a beach lifestyle business idea due to our love of surfing, sunshine, smoothies and great coffee. 

We wanted to provide like-minded beachgoers with something different to the standard coffee van in New Zealand. Inspired by Indonesia, we designed and fitted out a 1986 Bedford into the most enjoyable work environment possible. 

To us this means being next to the beach, fully mobile, self-sufficient with solar power and having the option to close the doors when the surf is pumping!” 

KatieCox Hakanini

WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN THE SURF CULTURE IN PĀPĀMOA SINCE YOU OPENED YOUR DOORS?

"We have seen a lot more surfers coming to surf at Pāpāmoa Domain since we opened The Sandbank. We have found that the Pāpāmoa surf culture has grown with more friendships built in and out of the water. We have seen local family’s getting to know each other whilst waiting for their coffee and we have seen a change in surfers and surf life savers coming together, this has created a safer feeling being in the ocean at Pāpāmoa Domain as well." 

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DO YOU HAVE ANY REGULARS?

"Absolutely! Our business is built on locals and it has become part of their daily routine. Many regulars come to check the surf and grab a coffee, beach walkers swing past to grab a coffee and carry on their beach walk too. Being dog lovers and surfers ourselves, I feel customers relate to us on a personal level and want to support us because of that."

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WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PĀPĀMOA DOMAIN?

"The biggest thing we love about Pāpāmoa domain is the surf… haha, and of course the locals, we feel there is such a great local community feel to the place, which is hard to find now days in such a fast paced world. We love the old school feeling where you know the people on your street and can talk to your neighbour when you’re enjoying your brew by the beach.  We love this the most about Pāpāmoa Domain, everybody knows each other, feels safe and connected." 

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FINALLY, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SMOOTHIE?

The Blue Magic: Banana, Blue Spirulina, Blueberries, Raglan coconut yoghurt & Coconut water 

It’s a kind of magic! This blue coconut dream is as good as it sounds and tastes like summer at The Sandbank. Derived from the ocean, our favourite superfood Blue Spirulina is known for its abundance of B vitamins. Keep your metabolism powered, protect your body from sun damage and soak up all the antioxidants in this blue kind of magic. 

Adding to the awesome surf culture in Pāpāmoa is Hakanini Surf School, also based at the Pāpāmoa Domain. If surfing is something that you have always wanted to try, or maybe you are keen on a family lesson, Pāpāmoa is the perfect place to learn. 

Tom Botting, surf instructor and owner of Hakanini Surf School says: 

“The swell is usually slightly smaller than Mount Maunganui and the crowds are far less, which is great for beginners. I teach a lot of local kids and families from Pāpāmoa. Creating a better surf community keeps me stoked and proud to have one of the best jobs in the world!”  

You will find Sandbank and Hakanini Surf School operating year-round every day that the sun is shining and the swell is running.  

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