The 5 Best Surf Schools on the Bay of Plenty

The Mount Manganui main beach
The Mount Manganui main beach | © kiwinz / Flickr
Photo of Joe Coates
23 June 2018

The Bay of Plenty, located on the east coast of the North Island, is one of the most idyllic spots in the whole country in which to spend a summer. If you find yourself fortunate enough to be there then one of the best things you can do is learn how to surf. Here is our guide to the top five surf schools in the region.

Hibiscus Surf School

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Surf's Up | Surf's Up

Hibiscus is rated one of the top five things to do in Mount Maunganui by Tourism Bay of Plenty, which just goes to show their five-star rating and 100 percent satisfaction rate with their customers are completely deserved. If you’re after a truly fantastic service, with friendly and approachable instructors who will exceed your expectations every day, then Hibiscus should probably be your first consideration. Because so many instructors want to work at Hibiscus, it means the company can hand-pick the very best of them, which naturally results in a better experience for wannabe surfers who sign up to the classes. Without exception, the instructors are all super keen on surfing and passing on that enthusiasm to people wanting to get into the sport.

Waihi Beach Surf School

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The stomping ground
Waihi Beach | Waihi Beach

Aidan Comrie has been teaching surfing since 1996, and has over 30 years of surfing experience. He is the man who started and runs the Waihi Beach Surf School based, funnily enough, on Waihi Beach – one of the safest beaches in the world to learn how to surf. Waihi Beach Surf School offers first class surfing lessons for all ages and abilities, and under the tutelage of your instructor it’ll be a matter of moments before you’re up and shredding your first waves! Not only are the instructors here all first-rate surfers, but every single one of them is also a qualified lifeguard, trained in first aid an accredited member of the NZSA. It’ nice to know that not only are you getting some of the best training to be found in the Bay of Plenty, but also that you couldn’t be in safer hands.

Mount Surf Academy

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Surf School | Surf School

Mount Surf Academy has some of the lowest instructor-to-student ratios in the area, making it the perfect choice of surf school for those who want to ensure they get the most out of their time with a qualified surf instructor. Whereas a lot of surf schools branch out and include lessons in kite-boarding or paddle-boarding, Mount Surf Academy concentrates solely on surfing, which means all their instructors are extremely proficient and capable at this sport in particular. Obviously, this translates to students getting some of the best surf lessons in the Bay of Plenty, which is exactly what you want. And is there a more beautiful and happening place to learn to surf in New Zealand than Mount Manganui?

Hakanini Surf School

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Surfing Papamoa Beach | Surfing Papamoa Beach

Hakanini Surf School doesn’t just place an emphasis on surfing, but tries to give their clients a thorough understanding of the ocean, the waves, rips and currents. Their ethos is that they want you to understand as much as possible the environment you’re about to enter on your board. If you ever get into trouble when you’re out surfing on your own, the best weapon you have against the elements is knowledge. From kids to adults, weekend surfers to newbies, and to old hands wanting to expand their skill-set, Hakanini has something to offer. This surf school is definitely our top pick for those wanting to learn to surf in Papamoa.

Discovery Surf School

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The Mount
What a great place to learn how to surf! | What a great place to learn how to surf!

Discovery Surf School prides itself on getting its students up on their boards and riding their first waves in their first lesson. The coastal Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand’s top holiday destinations for Kiwis and international travellers alike, and is a ripper of an area in which to pass a pleasant week learning to surf. Like the other companies on our list, Discovery has accredited surf instructors whose passion is to spread the good word of surfing to as many people as possible. For them, it’s a pleasure to see students getting to grips with a sport they love. All ages and abilities are welcome and the prices per lesson are extremely competitive.