Amy Wiggins

Amy is the lifestyles reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Big waves roll in to make surfers' paradise


Sweltering weather and massive surf drew hardcore surfers to Western Bay beaches yesterday.

Swells of about 2m and a high of 30C created the perfect summer conditions for beach-goers.

Dozens of surfers took to the water at Mount Maunganui Main Beach to make the most of the conditions.

Local surfer Doug Tamaki said the surf was the biggest he had seen in the Western Bay for some time.

"There's been a lot of cyclones out on the Pacific Ocean ... We've been waiting. We knew it was coming."

While the swell was big the surf was still very messy, he said.

"It's quite hard to get up on the waves but once you get up on it you get a good ride. It's not for novices."

Mr Tamaki said he made the most of every chance to get out on the water in his home town.

"It's an opportunity. We don't have big waves that often."

As for his favourite spot to surf, that was Matakana Island, he said.

"That's got to be the best place in the world. We've got world-class waves over there."

Metservice marine forecaster John Tunster said the large swell was created by a low sitting half way between the Bay of Plenty and Raoul Island.

The low came from the tropics and created an easterly wind which pushed the swell towards the Bay, he said.

The surf was not predicted to last long though.

Mr Tunster said the swell was predicted to have dropped off to about half a metre by today and would remain that way until at least Friday.

Mount Maunganui surfer Ben Millard was also making the most of the unusually large surf while it lasted.

The large waves rolling into the Bay of Plenty meant making less trips to the West Coast to find surf, he said.

"For the East Coast in the summer you don't usually get it [this big]... It's definitely good having waves around this time of year for us. We've been real lucky with the waves. We've had two months of waves and that never happens."

Joe, another local surfer, was enjoying the Mount Maunganui surf yesterday.

"It's not often that it gets this big here. You've got to make the most of it when it comes ... This is the time of year we're all waiting for."

The waves at Papamoa were equally as big, he said.

"I was at Papamoa earlier and I had one of the longest rides I've ever had."

Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club patrol captain Shaun Smith said the hot weather and big seas had created plenty of work.

The Papamoa club alone carried out 37 rescues last week, with 14 on Friday alone. Mr Smith said it was the most he had ever seen in one week.

Mr Smith said there was a large rip pulling right along the beach in the direction of Mount Maunganui making it difficult to find a totally safe spot to place the flags.

Holes and a number of flash rips also created a danger but Mr Smith said he was impressed by the behaviour of beach-goers.

The large surf yesterday seemed to keep dissuade swimmers from going out too far yesterday, he said.

"They are all playing the game well."

He urged swimmers to continue to make the most of the summer weather but to swim between the flags and know their limits.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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