Surfing in Westport – New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year – Backpacker Guide New Zealand


Today we’re going surfing the closest to Antarctica
we’ll ever surf. Today is the day. The weather is good enough and forecast for
the waves is good enough so we are on our way surfing. We are joining Steve and the team. There is heaps of people that work at the
hostel there is also some guests all grab a surf board, wetsuit and we’re heading the
beach. Today is surfing day. We squeeze into our wetsuits and booties because
as I mentioned before this is probably the closest to Antarctica that we’ll ever surf
so the water’s going to be a little bit chilly but it’s just going to wake us up faster so
first up on the surf board is Robin. So after listening to Tom on the beach for
about half an hour giving us all the basically technical knowledge it’s time to put all of
it in practice and Steve is taking me to the waves and it’s kind of a one of one lesson
right here. He is really teaching me how the waves behave
and how I should maneuver myself there. He is also holding the board I jump on it
and launch me into the waves. It take me a couple of tries until I first
stand on the board. I really don’t last much long but the feeling
when I am on the board and I start gliding over the wave is absolutely brilliant and
that gives me a boost of adrenaline that I really want to get on that board and stand
for a while. So we do a few races to kind of motivate each
other and try to stand longer on the board. It’s really cool and it really motivates it
works so well, I am finally gliding on the waves. I feel like a Rip Curl sponsored surfer I
mean not that much because there’s not much of a wave but man I feel great. In between each of my attempts, Steve is giving
me more tips and he’s also giving me some few challenges to help me kind of progress
so for instance he’s going to ask me to switch sides by jumping on the board so I’m going
to try that one right now, 3, 2, 1 go aw shit, just fucked it up. The really cool thing about Bazils Surf School
is that although we’ve got quite a big group of us today we actually split off into separate
groups so that we can get some lessons more on our abilities and really get a one on one
lesson. Depending on the surf conditions, they usually
do the lessons at Bazils Surf School on different beaches around Westport so everyone gets a
chance to have fun and you don’t have too big of a wave or too small of a wave, it’s
good for all abilities. We are surfing at North Beach which is at
the estuary of the Buller River and what’s really cool about this beach is the views
we’re actually getting as we’re surfing. So we can see this beach absolutely covered
in driftwood and then in the distance are the views of the mountains. The thing that I really love about surfing
is that it’s a massive challenge to yourself. It takes a lot of energy. it’s really exhausting to swim back toward
the waves before getting a chance to surf again. So for those small few seconds that to get
to surf you really want to make the most of it so you try so hard to stand on that board
and try to actually glide on the waves. But it’s really tough. We are lucky though because we have a beginners
board which are really big and wide and give us more of a chance to stand on them because
they are a little bit more stable. I can’t believe how much Robin is killing
it on the waves this afternoon, he is standing up all the time and once it gets to my turn
I have some pretty big shoes to fill. So I start off with good intentions, you know,
trying to catch a wave but for some reason I cannot catch any of thee waves today. I am failing again and again and again. It looks like Laura is having a real hard
time and at some point because she takes my board so she has the camera in front of her,
she actually tells me that the reason why she cannot stand on the board is because I
gave her the board wet. So you guys make of that whatever you will
but I think she’s just a sore loser for today and she’s just not the best surfer of us both. Nevertheless, I’m still having a lot of fun
just splishing and splashing in the water but this makes me even more motivated to keep
on trying and I’m getting loads of tips from Steve and Tom which is really helping me improve
and I’m starting to get a hang of it erm, maybe not. But, but I’m trying. I can see in the corner of me eye that Laura
is really struggling to stand on the board but I can see her being super resilient and
this is the key in succeeding in Surfing so Steve and Tom is giving her a lot of tips
like really heaps of them and she’s trying different techniques and every single time
she tries she gets a little closer to standing up. So I keep on trying and I keep on trying and
everyone around me is being super motivational so I’m getting back on the board hitting one
last wave. Come on, this is it. I have to do it. And finally the glorious moment happens, I’m
just gliding along this tiny wave, I don’t even care if a I fall over now because I’s
finally done it. I have to say that surfing is a massive exercise
so we worked up an appetite. So the whole team is heading back toward the
Bazils Hostel where we are staying tonight and we are making ourself a quick snack before
hitting the road this evening but this evening we’re not hitting the road to different destination. We are joining the crew from a company called
Kiwi Experience for a bonfire. We’ve been invited by them to grill some marshmallows
on the beach and honestly there is absolutely no good reason in the world to say no to that. So we hop on the bus, it’s a very short drive
toward the beach but this gives us the time to chat with our fellow bus goers because
well we haven’t really been in a bus for the whole time that we’ve been on this trip so
it’s pretty cool to be with a massive crowd and get people from all over the world. We get to North Beach and we put that driftwood
to work. We are making a massive bonfire on the beach
all getting around in a big circle and grilling marshmallows and drinking beers and hanging
out with a whole new bunch of people that we just met in the hostel about 30 minutes
ago but it’s a really awesome way to socialise and stargaze, chat, hang out and it’s an awesome
way to end our time in Westport. tomorrow we are leaving Westport which will
obviously be very sad but we are going up to the wonderful but very unknown town of
Karamea where it’s also the nearest town to the start of the Heaphy Track there’s also
a massive waterfall we want to check out tomorrow so join us then.

Antonio Breitenberg

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