Water Nomads New Zealand | Taranaki Wave Classic 2023


Trip Report

Another stunning Taranaki Wave Classic Event came to an end.

Actually, I should mention it, the first windsurfing event in Taranaki happened in 1983, that’s 40 years ago! Though it was under a different name and format to what the TWC is today. 

Although the wind wasn’t quiet what was expected (and forecasted), there were plenty of smiles on everyone’s faces. And why would you not smile? Taranaki presented itself from a stunning sunny side, great surf, plenty of tease-breeze, and fantastic socialising with the windsurfing community from all across New Zealand. And on Sunday, we did get perfect user-friendly conditions in Pungarehu!

Thursday before Labour Weekend was a stunning day in Taradise, sunny, not much wind. We had a good crew arrive early in Taranaki for our TWC Surfari Trip, beating the traffic out of Auckland for the long weekend. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and was living in hope, that the usually reliable sea breeze would kick in late afternoon in Waitara. Alas, it didn’t happen. At 5:30pm we eventually gave up and retired to our beautiful accommodation in Oakura and grabbed some food at the local pub. 

Yes, it would have been nicer if the sea breeze would have done what it was supposed to do, but hey, it could have been rainy and miserable. So we are not complaining. 

Friday was groundhog day: Sunny, nice surf in front of the house, not much wind. Living in hope for the sea breeze to kick in late afternoon. Plenty of tease-breeze around. Jill, Richard and Chris ventured to Waitara hoping to get some wind, the rest of us enjoyed the seaviews from the sunroom of our accommodation. Chris was the only one playing the waiting game long enough – he did get rewarded with a nice float ‘n ride session. Meanwhile, the rest of us waited impatiently back home for him to return so we could have dinner!

Saturday showed that windsurfing is a motorsport: There was wind at varies places at varies times – it was all about being at the right place at the right time. Martin, Jill and Richard did get some good winging time in the port, while Chris, Dan and Simon did go for a float ‘n swim in Boulders, followed for some by a nice wave session in Weld Road.

We later learned that people were sailing and winging all the way between Waitara and Pungarehu on that day! A very rare occurrence in Taranaki to have wind all along the coast. 

Windsurfer on a wave in Taranaki doing a top turn, New Zealand

Sunday, finally, the wind did as forecasted: Southeasterly down the coast! Baylys for the wingfoil crew, Pungas for the windsurfers.

The wind was fairly Southerly and not as offshore as sometimes. Combine that with maximum logo high waves (at least at the beginning) and you get very user-friendly conditions at this famous world-class spot. Plenty of keen punters took the opportunity to have their first ever session and Pungarehu, and it was great to see their confidence build during the day and the rides getting more and more daring. At the end of the day, as the wind swung further offshore and the waves did get steeper and bigger, the local crew put on a show and showed everyone how it’s done. 

Plenty of smiles and tired bodies were the result of a stunning day down the coast. 

The famous TWC party on Sunday night was a great place to tell tall tales about the days just gone, meet old and new friends. The already traditional slide show of photos from the weekend playing on the big screen was accompanied by plenty of laughs and comments as everyone was looking for the shots of themselves. 

It was a fantastic weekend with lots of sunshine, laughter and good company. Taranaki delivered 2 stunning days of sailing, for some even more. We are lucky that we can stay in the area for a bit longer before we are slowly making our way south. 

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Water Nomads Surfari guests pose in Taranaki

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