Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mahia sunrise_0011

The sound of the seventies

The_Sound logoRecently I discovered a great new radio station. THE SOUND plays exclusively classic sounds from the 60’s and 70’s. The stations I previously listened to are now destined for the audio cemetery! If you’re in Gissy you can tune into all the goodness at 96.5 FM. They have a great website too. You can see what song is currently playing and the last 10 songs to air. Tonight’s playlist is: The Animals, Janis Joplin, Santana, Peter Frampton, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Steely Dan. Right now Led Zeppelin’s ‘Heartbreaker’ is playing, “Some people cry and some people die by the wicked ways of love, but I’ll just keep on rollin’ along with the grace of the Lord above”.

I’m back home now, sorting things out as my summer holidays come to a rapid end. Can’t complain really, it’s been a good one. The surf has been poor here the last few days and the beaches haven’t been too photogenic either, with quite unspectacular sunrises and sunsets, so today for your ‘Daily Dose’ here’s some pics I’ve taken over the last week or so on my travels. Keep on truckin’ !     Ô

Mahia cloud-burst

Mahia cloud-burst

flax bush rights

flax bush rights


Nuhaka sheep under cotton-wool clouds

Morris 1000

a divine Morrie Thou’

Tui sign

the truth according to Tui

surf boat sunset

surf boat sunset


carpark view_0014

Summer story #5

There’s nothing like catching up with old ‘friends’. The past week’s been a busy one but I managed to catch a wave at two surfing spots at Mahia that have been old acquaintances of mine from way back. On my many trips to the Mahia Peninsular back in the 70’s and 80’s, the two most consistent surf beaches were Blacks and Mahanga Beach. There was always a swell at one of them, it was just a matter of which way the wind was blowing. Mahanga is best in a West or Nor-west but when the wind goes northerly or Nor-east seabreeze, Blacks is the spot. However Blacks has had it’s weird moments in recent years – something strange had happened to our old standby. Consequently I hadn’t surfed Blacks for two decades …until Tuesday. It’s been a long time between surfs!

After several days in Hawkes Bay at a family event I was on my way home yesterday with a couple of hours to spare before dark. A front had come through and a Sou-wester was freshening. I thought I’d check out the Mahia surf on my way home, perhaps Mahanga ‘standby #2’ would be OK in this wind?

But before I arrived at Mahanga to find a half-clean wave running down the Point, I stopped on the main highway to take a photo …and as I hopped out, the car door locked behind me, motor still running, indicators still flashing!  Fortunately I was soon able to flag down a motorist to use their cellphone to phone the AA to be rescued. Waiting on the side of the road for 30 minutes, I reflected back on my first Summer Story when Frick nearly cooked his motor. (Boy, I bet Frick’s sure gonna laugh at this story!) Eventually I made it to Mahanga for a quick surf before dark. The wind was a little cross-shore but it was great to get wet after my little drama. Old friends came through for me.      Ô


small crowd of 3 out at Blacks


surf debrief

Black's overview

Black’s overview

locked out !

locked out ! (yeah, I’m embarrassed)

old truck

…I wonder if I can get to the beach in that?

Nuhaka garage

join AA, well worth the money!

Mahanga Point

finally made it to Mahanga Point

Grommets view_0046

Summer story #4

From my previous post you may have got the impression that I see few positives about the city of Auckland. Whilst the inner city has all the negative attributes of a reasonably large city, a mere thirty minute drive from the central business district takes you to the idyllic Waitakere ranges with some of the most desirably real estate in the Auckland area for nature lovers. A further thirty minute drive over a much-improved road from those shingle road days of the 70’s, takes you to the famous Piha Beach, one of the gems of the wild Auckland west coast.

Piha has historical significance for New Zealand surfers. Surfing was first introduced to New Zealand by Duke Kahanamoku at Lyall Bay, Wellington in 1915. However the Kiwi fascination with surfing really began after the visit to Piha in 1958 by Californian lifeguards, Bing Copeland and Rick Stoner, who demonstrated their custom shaped ‘Malibu’ boards. Local lifeguard Peter Byers then started building boards in an old glasshouse at Piha in 1958. This week the National Surfing Champs are taking place at Piha. I made a day trip out to the beach to support our local Gissy surfers who were competing and to get a breath of fresh air from the busy, congested atmosphere of the city.     Ô

info boards

steeped in surfing history

Piha panorama

a wild onshore day at Piha

Piha letterbox

“any waves in the mail today?”

protest signs

protest signs

live band sign

run children! …before the band destroys you too !

Lion Rock

the famous Lion Rock

Nats spectators

Nationals spectators

Dan Proctor

Dan, the new national Longboard champion

Waitakere icon

iconic Waitakere building on the road to Piha

Te Araroa hills_0097

Summer story #3

Having just got back home from three days up in ‘The Big Smoke’ ( Auckland ), I reflected on the complete contrast that Gisborne and the East Coast are to New Zealand’s biggest city. Busy traffic, long traveling times, schizophrenic weather and crazy prices for snacks at the beach… the list goes on. Gotta say, I’m glad to be back home. All this reminded me of the recent trip I did up the East Coast a week or so back with my good mate Mike. We were searching for waves as a NE swell began to build from tropical cyclone Freda, which was heading towards NZ at the time.

Checking as we headed north, we realised there was still a lot of north in the swell direction so we decided to head right up to the top of the east coast to Te Araroa. Neither Mike nor I had surfed the Awatere rivermouth before. After thirty years of checking it, but not getting it on, this just might be my chance. The southerly offshore wind was perfect so we were excited to pull up at the rivermouth to find only one other car there. A young lady was about to head out and we quickly joined her. Whilst the seawater is almost at it’s warmest, we wore full wetsuits to protect us from the cool southerly breeze – a good decision as the wind began to strengthen during our surf and the water flowing out of the rivermouth – fed by mountain streams – was freezing, compared to the water surrounding it. After our surf, Mike and I drove the East Cape lighthouse road, spying new surf spots and enjoying the rural isolation and rustic beauty. Such a contrast to my time in Auckland the last few days…   Ô


Clean 1 metre waves and only one person out

cars_crop 0011

gotta get out there !


the young lady launches into a left


Mike flying on a right


mike tucks for the cover-up


the world’s eastern-most campground


beaut spot to camp

Te Araroa horse

Te Araroa local

cape road

road to the cape

local barber

the local barber …time for a quick cut?

Beach patrol_crop 0064

Summer story #2

Eli torso_0005The beach is the only sensible place to be when the thermometer hits 30°.  But when folks head to the water to cool off there can be problems if there’s a swell running, with rips and holes to catch out the unwary. Keeping everyone safe in the water is the mission of our dedicated Surf lifeguards.

For my second Summer Story I’m featuring Eli, a visiting lifeguard from San Diego, who is volunteering at surf clubs around NZ over our summer months and is having fun sampling our local waves while he’s at it. Eli is based at the Wainui Surfclub for a few weeks. The other day the waves were clean, hollow and inviting. I caught Eli taking a break from duties to sample a few Wainui peelers. A top bloke, who is also a great surfer, Eli came in from his break with a smile a mile wide. You can see why from these photos.   Ô

flag patrol

the view from the Surfclub


Eli’s view from the watchtower

dog patrol

“you’re on patrol for half an hour Butch, I’m out there!”

tube ride

Eli pulls into a sweet one

tubing wave

what Eli travelled 6400 miles to find


Butch is happy, it’s his turn for a surf now


stoked…and back on duty

breakdownSummer stories

SO many waves to ride, so many photos to take, but so little time left to do anything with the photos. I’ve finally downloaded the photos from the last nine days and here we go again with a fresh dose of the salts! It was hard to know where to start so to jump back a few days, here’s a story of life on the road in the heat of summer chasing hot waves with mates Frick and Lorenzo.

As well as being saturated with pumping swells from all directions, the Tairawhiti region has also been blasted with sunshine and hot temperatures – does life get any better?! But the heat of mid-summer does has its down sides. The pointer on the fire risk signs moves to ‘Extreme’ and fires are banned, cars overheat, and the wax can melt off your surfboard deck while it’s parked up on your car roof.

fire risk signI didn’t need much convincing to join Frick and Lorenzo on a wave hunting mission to Mahia chasing a NE swell spiraling off ex-tropical cyclone Freda. Unfortunately we missed the peak of the swell (to see The Spit pumping at the peak of the swell the night before click here ). But once we finally got to the Mahia reefs, some fun waves were enjoyed. However the mission was almost thwarted by Frick’s car overheating 15 minutes short of our destination. Just as well we were carrying a few litres of water to wash ourselves off after our surf ! Mission accomplished.


waiting for the motor to cool

checking the surf

finally made it to the Mahia reefs

first reef

First Reef was full of mal riders

The Spit

The Spit was full of young fellas

Second reef

‘Second Reef’ looked about right for us old fellas

Lorenzo racing

Frick kicks out as Lorenzo races behind him


Frick cuts back – not bad for an ol’ fella

two up

Frick claims it …or laments Lorenzo getting the good one?

carpark full

the Reefs roadside was full up

weather forecast

not a bad forecast for the next week!

Outlook for the next few days is an easing swell but hot, sunny days. ‘Tairawhiti’ means ‘the sunny side’ of the country, no mistaking that right now!      Ô

Happy 2013

Greetings! The sun has set on the year that was 2012 and a new year has now dawned. On arrival at Makorori Beach I found, to my delight, that some happy soul had beautified the usually drab Red Bus toilet’s water tank with some festive chalk art. Both sides of the tank are decorated and it’s message of good cheer is in full view of motorists passing by on the Pacific Coast Highway. Nice. Even more colourful were tonight’s fiery sunset and the awesome New Year’s fireworks display over the city.

Well, the year didn’t start off very spectacularly on the surf front. A tiny North-east swell of around one foot is still lingering. Conditions were nice with light offshore winds for 2013’s first day of surfing, but the waves was only just surfable. I did get to indulge in a rather pleasant session on the mini-mal out front of Frick’s place with Taylor, who enjoyed his recent time in Fiji …despite encountering Tropical Cyclone Evan the day after he arrived. He’s enjoying being back amongst the Gissy vibe again. -You can read more about the vibe and culture of Wainui Beach in an article on today’s NZ Herald website. Here’s the link here.

I hope that 2012 was a good one for you and that 2013 is even better! Wishing you an …

hippy toilet tank

happy hippy toilet tank

heading home

tiny swell for 2013’s first surf

Makorori Beach

sun sets at the end of 2013’s first day

Wainui Store

a busy day trading at the Wainui Store

sunset photo shoot

tourists’ sunset photo shoot

sunset swim

sunset swim

city lights

30,000 people waited, paused for…


…the annual New Year’s fireworks display