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Surfing in Gisborne, Gisborne Overview

Gisborne is famous for wine, delicious food and most importantly, surf beaches. With nearly 3500 kilometres of coastline, surfing in Gisborne is something one wouldn’t want to miss. The very first city in the whole world to greet the sun every morning is Gisborne, hence surfing early in the morning will be an unforgettable experience. The East Coast area is said to have the most consistent surf in New Zealand.

The level of surfing in Gisborne is quite high so you will have to practice a little to get your waves but once you get it right, you will enjoy them. Many pro surfers like Allan Byrne, Maz Quinn and Ricardo Christie have come out of this area over the years. As there are a lot of places to surf, Gisborne surf spots are not usually crowded most of the time but when it is really good or on warm sunny weekends and the waves are perfect for surfing, it tends to get a little crowded.

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Waikanae (Robert's Road)

The calmest waves occur in Waikanae Beach but there are times when the waves can get big and harsh. Hence, be careful and know about the weather conditions in advance. This beach is great for beginners, surf lessons and kids. The swells hitting here tends to be from the South or South West. The waves are consistent throughout the year except during summer months. 

Gizzy Pipe

Gizzy Pipe is one of the beaches with most consistent waves especially during winter months. This beach receives regular and quite powerful waves from Autumn through spring, swells hitting from the southerly quarter. The waves that occur right in front of the Midway Surf Club usually has the biggest waves.

The surf is great for kids and beginners when the waves are smaller than usual and calm. But when it gets overhead, you have to be aware of the dangerous accidents it can cause. Once it's double overhead, make sure you go there only if you are confident in your ability and fitness to surf there.

Sponge Bay

There are many spots for surfing in Sponge Bay. The swells hit here from South-West to East, depends on the part of the beach you choose to surf in. The waves are rarely large and harsh, hence it is a great place for beginners and kids.

Sponge Bay is one of the more dangerous places to surf because of the submerged rocks, logs and sometimes garbage that has been illegally dumped here mingles with surfers in the line-up. Be very careful!

The Island

The island is for experts and competitive surfers only. The locals here are a bit protective over the area so make sure you are friendly and respectful to the people there. The most popular and consistent surf spot on the island is the Bowl. It can be risky with partially submerged rocks and intense hold-downs when the waves are a bit bigger.

Wainui Beach

Situated on the southernmost part of the “Coat Beaches”, this beach throws up huge, world-class waves from time to time. Broken surfboards, leashes and serious rips are common on this beach. If you are not an expert surfer, make sure you check with the locals about the wave conditions.


The Pines also throws up huge waves but less consistent. This is a great surf spot for competitors and expert surfers. Even if you don’t want to surf, its a lot of fun to watch the experts’ action when the surf is pumping and the experts are getting big pits from the Pines car parking area.

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