Two Days of Novelty or Nothing in New Zealand

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 6d ago

New Zealand's been having a moment, between the screaming onshore and then screaming cross-shore wind, there were times when the surf was groomed enough to take a swing at it -- if you happened to be at one of a handful of beaches facing the right direction.

Northland down through to the Bay Of Plenty has seen one of these types of north-east weather bombs each week for the past three now, they’re a winter staple in New Zealand. This one was the biggest so far. It started with strong winds on Monday, kicking up a solid windswell which peaked through the early hours of Tuesday morning, shifting NE in direction. Buoy numbers were pushing 22ft as the day woke, but a short period combined with strong northerly onshores meant the ocean was pretty dang chaotic.

Spot guide: New Zealand

This could be most places in the world on those big, stormy, horrible days. It's knowing where go go when somewhere looks like this; that's the difference between surfing and not surfing.

This could be most places in the world on those big, stormy, horrible days. It's knowing where go go when somewhere looks like this; that's the difference between surfing and not surfing.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.

These big storm swells often generate stoke but for the most part, fail to deliver a surfing fix. You almost need to look at them in a completely different light, enjoy them for what they do offer, and that is often something of novelty. Take Mount Maunganui for example. It has Northwest Rock, situated more on the western side of Mauao, a fickle right hand point (if you can call it that) breaking extremely close to rocks with plenty of surge and tidal effect from the Tauranga harbour entrance. It only breaks once every year or so on huge swells. Tuesday morning was one of those days, creating a bit of local hype for those on the pulse. 

Tuesday morning during the swell peak in Tauranga harbour entrance. You can really see the strong outgoing tide which stole a lot of energy from the wave.

Tuesday morning during the swell peak in Tauranga harbour entrance. You can really see the strong outgoing tide which stole a lot of energy from the wave.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.

Brief moments of westerly winds would offer groomed waves in the Bay Of Plenty, then 10 minutes later a NW squall would completely ruin things again.

Brief moments of westerly winds would offer groomed waves in the Bay Of Plenty, then 10 minutes later a NW squall would completely ruin things again.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.

Wednesday morning the swell was angling very north and winds were moving around the dial. The Northland and Coromandel coastlines sometimes fare a little better in these systems, their respective coastlines have more beaches favouring a north-west wind. However the fading energy and predominant north in the swell meant that by the time the winds finally came right, the size had almost disappeared in those regions. It’s often a lose-lose situation but pockets of fun waves could be found if you were in the right place at the right time.

Elin Tawharu and Billie Scott make the trek around the base of Mauao to the Northwest rock jump off.

Elin Tawharu and Billie Scott make the trek around the base of Mauao to the Northwest rock jump off.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.

Dan Hooker looking like Oscar the resident seal. Oscar loves to play games by appearing out of nowhere, spooking crew in the lineup.

Dan Hooker looking like Oscar the resident seal. Oscar loves to play games by appearing out of nowhere, spooking crew in the lineup.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.

It was Elin’s first time surfing the wave, a bit of a cautionary check was fair. It’s a lot closer to the rocks than it appears.

It was Elin’s first time surfing the wave, a bit of a cautionary check was fair. It’s a lot closer to the rocks than it appears.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.

Elin, unfazed about shredding one over the top of the dry rock section.

Elin, unfazed about shredding one over the top of the dry rock section.

© 2022 - Jereme Aubertin.