Geeignet für: Windsurfer, Kitesurfer
Revier: Flachwasser, Welle
Windrichtung: beste je nach Spot, fahrbar alle
Whilst most New Zealand windsurfers don’t expect Wellington to have any serious down-the-line wavesailing, this might be true for Wellington urban area, but by traveling over the Rimutakas past the Hutt Valley, there is a whole selection of „Big Wave“ spots which frequently gets visited by the Wellington Wavesailing crew. Despite the call usually being a bit difficult as its a 1 1/2 hour drive from town, legendary sessions have been scored at Tora, Dumps and Whatarangi Point. These waves are full on down-the-line spots such as usually found up in Taranaki, and favour the experienced wavesailors. However, some of these spots can come up with conditions which also let beginner to intermediate wavesailors have a great session !
In order to evaluate which spot might be on, it is important to know whether there is an east or more a west in the general southerly wind direction. See windforecast page to find this out.
SW = Tora (1)
SE = Lobsterpot, Dumps and Whatarangi point (2 – 4)
N-NW= Whatarangi point (4)
Its not worth coming over here, if Lyall Bay is 3.7 weather, as the only ting you will find here is masthigh, messy, dumpy onshore waves with even more wind ! Plenty of trips have been done to find this out !! Ideally, 20-25 knot winds from SE or SW are best, with heaps of swell pumping.
Probably the most remote and hardcore spot of all. Head over the Rimutaka to Featherston, then to Martinborough where you head south towards Lake Ferry. About 1 km after leaving Martinborough, you take a left, and its signposted from there right to the beach. Martinborough to beach is about 30 minutes of driving.
Once you get to the beach, turn right, and follow road for about 1 km through a very small assembly of beach batches. At the end of this little village, there is a round toilet hut near the beach. Thats it, launch to the right of this little hut and river mouth.
SW is cross to cross-offshore and its fully down the line sailing. Classic pointbreak righthander for starbord wavesailing. Outer swells get massive and the sailable wave can easily get masthigh + Picks up any kind of swell, but an E to SE swell seems to wrap in best.
Watch out for the sometimes mean shorebreak and rocks below surface at launching spot. The bigger the swell, the further out the waves break and the better it gets. In small swells waves will break closer to beach where you will find occasional rocks popping out whilst going down the line.
Whatarangi point (4)
From Martinborough, turn south, and keep going towards Lake ferry. A short while after Pirinoa, turn left towards Cape Palliser, you will finally get to Whatarangi village. Spot is on your right, you will not miss it. There is a little 4 WD track 50 meters long. That is where you park and launch. Pointbreak lefthander, better at lowish tide. Porttack wavesailing. The wave sometimes runs a long way through to the Bombora further out. Wave can be 200 meters long in good conditions. Wind needs to be S to SE, anything SW will make this cross onshore and not much fun.
A couple of rocks below water at launching point, but not too hardcore. In moderate days very suitable for beginner to intermediate wavesailors. Can also be sailed in a northerly, but there needs to be a good southswell coming in, else it will be blown flat. Waveface is quite smooth in southerlies, but choppy in northerlies.
Keep on going past Whatarangi for about 2-3 km until the road makes a significant bend to the left. The point will be on your right side. There is a 4 WD track which takes you down to the point, beware of deep sand. The spot picks up heaps of swell. The rest of the coast might be flat, but still a logohigh wave may be running here. The point is also the windiest in a S or SE. There is a channel to the left of the major rocks in the middle of the bay. The break is upwind about 100 meters. Pointbreak, lefthander, porttack wavesailing. Very smooth, clean wave. In a big swell, High Tide is best, in a small swell, lowish tide seems to work better. Holds very big swells. This spot has become legendary after the whole Wellington crew made a trip over here and scored it perfectly. 20 sailors out made it just about crowded, but considering you’ll have it for your own the rest of the year, thats probably ok.
The wave is easy to ride, as long as you don’t ride it to the very end on the inside. If you do, there is a chance you will end up with ripped sails and broken masts.
Believe it or not, but despite the massive wavesize, this spot is actually sailable for beginner to intermediate wavesailors, as you can actually sail around the break without having to cross the incoming waves. Start your waveride as much upwind as your confidence allows to.
Watch out for shorebreak at western end of bay. Try to avoid entering or leaving the water at that spot just close to the big rocks. The beach drops off with a ledge below water level, creating a nasty undercurrent which can suck your equipment back whilst you get trashed by the shorebreak. It can take 2 sailors to free 1 set of equipment if you’re unlucky.
Whatarangi as well as Dumps need clean SE sideshore winds, else both spots will be cross-onshore with waves not forming properly.
If the wind is too easterly, and doesn’t get around to Dumps or Whatarangi Point, head further down the road towards Ngawi village, until you cross a very small bridge. Just after the bridge, take a right down to the beach. There will be a couple of big rocks, to the left there is a narrow channel heading out. Once you’re out on the water, you’ll need to go downwind about 200 meters. Once again , porttack wavesailing. Only works in very big swells.
Lake Ferry (5)
Offers good slalom and speed sailing in a southerly and bump and jump sailing in a northerly. Always a good alternative if the coastline is over the top. I have heard this spot is becoming favoured by the kitesailors also.
DIDIS (Between 2 and 3)
A well known surf spot on the coast for years, located between Dumps and Ngawi village, approximately 2 km after Dumps towards Ngawi village. There is a sharp bend in the road (the only one), shortly after that you will see the break on your right side. There is a gap in the steep bank which allows you to get down to the beach, from there, walk about 50 meters to the right, its less rocky up there.
This spot has awesome potential and a few Welli sailors have just recently scored it in a northerly wind. This spot seems to pick up swell really well, even if there is only a very small swell running. The best call would be to sail it in a northerly, as we believe there are better spots in a SE, such as Dumps or Whatarangi. Also its a righthander, which works really perfect crossshore to cross- offshore in a northerly. Winds can be a bit shifty, but the waverides resemble Waitotara for those who know that wavespot up in Wanganui. This place should go off in a decent southerly swell with a northerly wind. Waves are rideable to the very inside, but size seems to vary depending on tide. A few trips have shown that waves seem to form best on LOW TIDE! The wavefaces are quite wind affected, so don’t sail here if the forecast is for 40 knots NW!
Be very careful with the shorebreak at high tide ! Do NOT try to exit the water just at the paking area. Pick your spot. In a reasonable swell at high tide there is a good chance you will trash all your gear if you get it wrong ! (This has been proven by editor. Yuhaiii!)
Some of the old ’80’s hardcore crew have mentioned some further spots around the Wairarapa which used to be sailed. Certainly worth a go!!
– Western side of Palliser Bay. If theres too much West in the winddirection for Whatarangi or Dumps. Shorter drive than Tora and potential for when you are already on the southcoast.
– White Rock. On the route to Tora, its signposted. They used to be able to drive around Cape Palliser, serious 4 WD drive ! Similar setup as Tora, possibly bigger.
Simone Hollenstein (wellingtonwindsurfers.co.nz)