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Beginner, intermediate and pro

You’ve heard about the stories - from a friend, through a passing conversation, saw a YouTube video or got inspired by an Instagram post.

The lure of wide-open beaches, a variety of breaks, consistent winds and strong swells – all of this together is the makings of New Zealand’s surf city. 

Whatever your reason to come to Gisborne, in search of epic surf, in hopes of that endless wave - the Land of the First Light won’t disappoint. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or pro surfer, here’s just a few of our favourite places to hang ten.

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Beginner

Waikanae/Roberts Road

Safe shallow beach often with small waves good for learners. Waikanae Surf Club if you want to swim between the flags. It’s right along the new boardwalk - Oneroa Beachfront Cycle and Walkway. There are free BBQs there to use and Olympic pools - with showers to boot - so you can spend the entire day there with some good facilities nearby.

Makarori Northerns

This Northern Part of Makarori by the houses is a good spot when there is a North East Seabreeze so perfect for summer afternoons. With softer and smaller swells, this is ideal for beginners and kids. Lots of ample parking and a great area for a picnic or a snooze under a tree.

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Intermediate

Midway Pipe

A sandy beach break with waves most of the year with one main peak both left and right handers. Heaps of parking, in middle of Poverty Bay with great views of Young Nicks Head. Planes from the airport fly over this beach so you might catch a glimpse as you fly in. Take a drive down the “Mad Mile” down to the Waipoa River mouth for a spot of fishing.

Makarori Beach

Untouched, picturesque and a wicked spot to watch the sunrise while you are out there catching some waves. Very handy that there is overnight campervan parking available too. The southern part of the beach gets plenty of surf and has some of the most consistent surf in Gisborne. Keep a look out for visiting seals in the winter months!

Wainui Beach

Consistent waves you can count on throughout the year. Good variety of beach breaks, both left and right and just beautiful barrels. Ground swells are more common here than wind swells. This ride can be quite a heavy, dumpy wave so you end up slammed into the sand if you get dumped too near the shore. Lots of good places to access the beach so you can find yourself the perfect spot.

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Pro

Wainui Beach

World-class beach break, with sandy beach breaks and several peaks down the beach. From barrels to hollows, waves come in fast and powerful here. Can be a tough paddle when it’s big and packs a bit of power compared to other breaks.

Blacks Beach

Blacks Beach on the Mahia Peninsula delivers super consistent right hand reef breaks onto a stunning black sand beach. Waves crank here at least twice a week and best at low tide in a southerly swell. Just keep a watch out for the shallow reefs here.

The Island

A secret spot and bit of localism! So make friends with locals and see if they will share some tales about The Island with you. Really for advanced surfers only since it could take between 15-30 minutes to paddle to The Island on a shortboard, depending on weather conditions and your fitness levels.

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Top tips

  • Watch out for the summer seabreeze so get out there early
  • Breaks all have great potential so the trick is to finding the right spot for tides/swell
  • Water can be cold in Gisborne so even in summer a wetsuit is good
  • Never drop in or snake
  • Never surf between the flags at a patrolled part of the beach
  • Never surf in the competition zone if there is a surf comp on
  • Paddle to the inside if someone is on a wave when you’re paddling out so you don't get in their way
  • Only go out in spots that are appropriate for your ability
  • Have fun, stay safe and don’t take yourself too seriously
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