Trip Report | Canterbury Lakes Trip February 2024

Windsurfer on Lake Ohau, New Zealand

CANTERBURY LAKES TRIP FEBURARY 2024

Trip Report

That’s a wrap! A fantastic crew – again – with lots of laughs and good banter. It’s almost like getting on the water every day is just the icing on the cake! 

Arrival day is usually what the word says – the day to arrive. But this crew here was so keen that after picking up half of our guests at Queenstown airport (the other half self-drove to Twizel), we went straight to Lake Ruataniwha for a short session to wash off the travel dust. The self-driving part of the crew was already there testing the water. It wasn’t a long session, but enough to get a taste of what was to come and get wet before dinner. 

Rigging area at Lake Aviemore
That was a great session!

Day One and the Northwesterly was howling on Lake Ōhau. We went to have a look, as there was no wind early in the day anywhere else, but decided that 30+ knots wouldn’t be much fun for most of the group on the first day – some of them were on rental gear that they hadn’t used before. For a more relaxed warm up session, we opted to head to Lake Aviemore and wait for the NW’erly wind to push through. As a bonus, we knew there would be a nice crew of other water sports enthusiasts to socialise with. A nice grassy rigging area, sun or shade, whatever you prefer, the perfect spot for lunch. 

Mid afternoon the wind started up. At first it was only a few gentle puffs, as if not sure if it should blow from the east or west. This did bring the wingfoilers on the water. Then the Northwest wind pushed really through and did build more and more. Sails and wings were rigged smaller and smaller, and by the end of the first day most of the available gear had already been used! It was a quiet ride back in the Water Nomads Surfari van, bodies already feeling somewhat weary. Though an amazing salmon dinner and an early night prepared everyone for rinse-and-repeat on Day Two. 

Windy afternoon on Lake Aviemore
Lake Ohau on Day Two

Day Two was a similar weather pattern as Day One, but the Northwesterly wasn’t as strong as the day before. The crew had a fun session on Lake Ōhau in a strong Northerly with solid rolling swells. After lunch we moved to Lake Ruataniwha for a lighter wind second session with nice flat water. Great for practicing those new moves!

The El Nino weather pattern did bring some more Northwest wind on Day Three. This meant another day at Lake Ōhau. This time it was a lot less strong than the previous days and great for foiling and the bigger sails in the beginning. Come afternoon, the breeze picked up and the smaller windsurfing kit did get to play as well. Fergus and Fabio enjoyed playing on the rolling swells with their wingfoils, tacking upwind and riding the waves back downwind. Martin and Lorne were competing for the highest jumps, and Team Foxy (Matt and Julius) were racing each other. We spent the whole day at the spot, no need to go anywhere else. By late afternoon, a few naps on the beach were needed between the countless sessions! 

Looking across Lake Pukaki towards Aoraki Mount Cook
Waiting for wind at Lake Ohau on Day Five

On Day Four we woke to a stunning blue sky and not much wind in the forecast. We took the opportunity to drive to Lake Pukaki for the stunning views of Aoraki Mount Cook before moving to Lake Tekapo. After enjoying a beautiful lunch by our amazing caterer MINT FOLK & CO right at the beach, the wind came up enough to enjoy the clear blue waters of Lake Tekapo. It was fantastic fun, like playing in a swimming pool, just without any chlorine or other nasty chemicals!

Day Five, the final day, called us back to Lake Ōhau, with a forecast for the Northwesterly kicking in mid afternoon. We just didn’t know when exactly as the mountains hold their cards close to their chest… This time we opted to go further up the lake to Round Bush. This beautiful spot provides a sheltered rigging area, a steep entry into the water (no wobbling across rocks forever) and some trees for shade while we would be waiting for the wind to start. It was lunch and chill, reading, playing dice, chatting, setting up for a group picture, …. Then the wind eventually came and everyone had a blast. Though it was light and ‘fluffy’, the water was beautiful and the scenery spectacular! All we can say is roll on 2025!

11 windsurfers posing in front of some sails with lake and mountain backdrop

Looking to travel New Zealand? Check out Water Nomads for Watersports Rental and Surfari Trips!

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