Taranaki, New Zealand isn’t home to Surf Highway 45 – the locals’ name for State Highway 45 – for nothing. This west coast part of the North Island is home to some of the country’s best surf breaks. If you’re keen to catch a wave or three then read on, and find out our five best spots to take the plunge.
Ahu Ahu Road is probably one of the more popular breaks in this North Island region. Because of this it’ll sometimes get a bit crowded, especially in the school holidays – like everything else, really – and, obviously, when the surf is pumping. The beach breaks offer lefts and rights. The waves are both fast and hollow, providing good rides. Suitable for all surfers, it’s no surprise that both locals and tourists gather here all the time. It’s a great spot to get your eye in if you’ve only just taken to the sport, but also a great place to rip it up if you’ve been doing it for years.
Kumera Patch is a very highly regarded break by those in the know. Many consider it to be one of the – if not the – best left hand point break in the region. The wave can, at times, seem to break and roll along for ages, meaning you can get some lovely, cruisy rides. Depending on the conditions and tide, there’s often a workable wall with some faster barrel sections, which is a lot of fun. The Patch offers limited protection in SW winds as well, which only further increases its stock to travelling surfers. A real gem when it comes to surf spots of the region, and one that should be visited by all travelling surfers of intermediate skill.
If you’re a surfer you might not have heard of Stent Road, but be thankful that you have now because this is one of New Zealand‘s top surf spots (not just Taranaki’s). It is a big, right-hand point break along a rocky shore and is comprised of several sections including a hollow drop in, a barrel section and a wally wave. Due to its sterling rep when the surf is pumping you can expect this spot to be crammed with locals. If you’re not the most skilled it might be worth heading somewhere else as things can get heated if proper etiquette isn’t – even unintentionally – observed.
This is a great surf break for guys and gals who are more at home on their boards than beginners. That’s not to say amateur surfers won’t get something out of surfing this break, but intermediate surfers will definitely find it less of a challenge. The wave is long and wally with several sections to navigate, also offering some barrels – hence the intermediate level. Graveyards is a left-hand point break on a stoney/boulder point, located just north of Rocky Rights/Lefts – a couple of other decent local surf spots. The brilliant thing about this particular spot is there is almost always a little wave happening here through the year. So when in doubt, paddle out at Graveyards.
Whereas Graveyards and Stent Road are more for the skilled, die-hard surfers, Weld Road is more laid-back. Just because a break isn’t as technically challenging though, doesn’t mean it is any less fun, and that is why we’ve included Weld on our list. You’re not going to be finding 12-foot barrels out here, but you will find a super easy wave that is just made for those hungover Sundays when the best way to clear the beer-fog from your head is to hop on a longboard and just cruise. The only thing surfers need to be aware of are a few sections of submerged rocks.