LawrenceN-NZ-0401

Surfing New Zealand isn’t all it's cracked up to be, its much, much better.

Ah it’s sometimes easy to take the pizzle out of the Kiwis and their beloved homeland of New Zealand. Maybe it’s the accent, the nasal twang that comes off as a clipped version of the irritating Australian version. The fact that a “six", turns into a “sex" and is therefore so easy to mimic.

Maybe it’s the fact that Kiwi stereotypes are so easily realised, a factor of its tiny population and that almost every single New Zealander at some stage flees one of their two small islands, decamps to London, sleeps 15 in a two bedroom flat, saves the New Zealand annual GDP and hits the various skiing and surfing outposts of the world, on an annual travel budget of €650.

LawrenceN-NZ-0107

Maybe it’s all those sheep or the eerie isolation, the Lord of the Rings or The Flight of The Concords or most probably the fact that the Kiwis know they are on a damn good wicket (pronounced wecket) and don’t want to spoil it by having every other bastard travel down there and trample all over their piece of paradise.

You see New Zealand pretty much has it all, well except for warm water and pretty women. It has clean air and breathtaking scenery. It has mountains for snowboarding and Alps towns for partying. It has clean water and empty, empty beaches. And it has waves, it has big waves and small waves. It has beachbreaks and rivermouths, offshore bombies that hold 50 feet widowmakers and grinding slabs. Of course thoughts always, lazily, turn to Raglan. And yeah it’s a good wave and there’s nothing like a 500 yard long fat pointbreak to look good in a photo, but Raglan isn’t New Zealand.

LawrenceN-NZ-0339

New Zealand is surfing in protected corners, where clean wedges refract off million year old grass topped hills. Surfing New Zealand means driving down road after road, checking point after point to finally find a 100 yard spitting gem, with just six guys who all can surf really, really well.

Surfing in New Zealand means wet wetsuits and cold, cold water, with waves just good enough to deal with both.

It’s small towns and friendly Kiwis who after taking the time to assess your character will offer their homes, their beer, their boards, heck even their mums, to a visiting surfer. Surfing in New Zealand is about being a real surfer and surfing real waves, not to brag or boast, but to get barreled.

This is two islands with each opposite coast a four drive away. There isn’t a wrong wind, or off beam swell direction that can’t be countered by hopping in a vehicle and hammering down an empty highway for a couple of hours. Sure the wind may have swung by the time you get there, but that’s not the point, is it?

There’s Kiwi surfers that know how good they have it, and yet can still keep their mouth shut after six beers in bars in Bali or two cappuccinos in cafes in California. Surfing is New Zealand is clean, and green, cold and mean. In fact, such is the array of options open to a New Zealander it’s almost a mystery why they spend half their time attempting to make love to sheep’s bum bums.

(More compelling prose of this order in SE94 le Travel Issue)