Labour Weekend – time for the annual trek to Taranaki from all over the country. Usually the Taranaki Wave Classic, New Zealands biggest and oldest windsurfing event, is happening over the long weekend. This year, it was more of an informal format. Nothing official organised, yet plenty of watersport enthusiasts made the most of the conditions on offer. With our Water Nomads Crew, we were in the middle of it.
With a stellar forecast, everyone of our guests took Thursday off and arrived early in Waitara. The waves weren’t as big as expected, but the wind was on and there were some fun lines. After a few hours on the water, it was eventually time to check in at our accommodation and get spoiled with Nachos for dinner by our in-house chef Joe.
Friday the wind swung southeast and we all made our way to Pungarehu. Infamous for its rocky coastline and its gusty cross-offshore winds, it delivered to all expectations. The swell had picked up over night, with big sets rolling in. If you weren’t quick (or lucky) to get out, you easily could drift downwind towards Crushers, and what happens then is in the name. None of us were too keen on long swims and lost or damaged gear, but we enjoyed watching the carnage unfold. Rhys tried to give it a go but had to retreat after a while.
The following day was warm and sunny again, with no wind left down the coast but the promise of a seabreeze in Waitara in the afternoon. The activity level was reasonably low – seems just watching the day before took it out of us! A very entertaining evening with good food possibly contributed to a slow start of the day. Our accommodation offered itself to relaxing, soaking in the sun and views or strolling down to the beach without too much stress. Late afternoon the seabreeze kicked in as promised with a bit of a wave. Nice float and ride session, and the wingers were all over the place anyway! It didn’t last long though before the wind went really light, but by then most of us did get wet in one way or another.
Sunday was groundhog day: Warm, sunny, no wind in the morning with a breeze forecasted for the afternoon. A small crew of us walked up to the Trig on top of Mount Patuha. We were rewarded with awesome views all the way over to Ruapehu and Tongariro. After lunch, the wind picked up as predicted and a fantastic session was enjoyed by everyone in Waitara again. With about 15knts of wind in the beginning, the wing was definitely the tool of the day. They moved so quick and caught so many waves. Jill and Richard were very happy about that! A hearty dinner fed us all well, hoping to recover those calories we all burned during the day.
As we say: Sail/wing – eat – sleep – repeat. Monday did bring some more action in Waitara. Finally the breeze was well and truly up. Yes, the waves were lacking this time, but it seems you can’t always have it all. We made the most of it and were on the water for several hours, before starting the long drive back home.