Surf lovers to connect at Cove Fish Fry

By Sophie Ryan

Douglas Pearson will be at The Cove Fish Fry with some of his vast collection of surfboards. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Douglas Pearson will be at The Cove Fish Fry with some of his vast collection of surfboards. Photo/Michael Cunningham

The favourable surf conditions are a good sign for the surfers gearing up for the first The Cove Fish Fry this Sunday.

The non-competitive and non-commercial surfing event is bringing people from all over the world to Waipu Cove to connect and share stories about surfing in New Zealand for the first time.

The annual event has been organised by surfing enthusiast Michael Cunningham from Whangarei and will run at Waipu Cove on Sunday from 8am.

After attending six fish fry events in Australia, Mr Cunningham thought it was time to bring the gathering to New Zealand and Waipu Cove was the perfect spot.

"It's a gathering of like-minded people.

"It's not a mainstream event it's not for mass-producers of boards. It's for your average surfer who loves surfing."

The event has been shared organically around the world through social media interest and word-of-mouth, rather than a big marketing campaign.

Six months ago Mr Cunningham, who works as senior photographer at the The Northern Advocate newspaper, launched The Cove Fish Fry blog, and from there international surfers and shapers have been in touch to confirm they'll be attending the event.

Surfers from the United States, the Netherlands, Japan, Indonesia and Australia have travelled to Northland for the event, as well as surfers and surfboard shapers from throughout the country.

Mr Cunningham encouraged people to come and enjoy a day at the beach meeting and talking to other people, and even try riding a totally different style of surfboard, whether it be fin-less, a fish board, or a traditional Hawaiian paipo.

"Come along, bring a surfboard, bring your kids, bring some lunch and stories."

Fish fry events take place in the US, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Ireland and many other countries.

There will be collections of surfboards from local enthusiasts on display and anyone making surfboards in their backyard are encouraged to bring along anything they have made.

"Bring a board. Don't worry what type it is, don't be shy. If it's weird, or wacky or unusual, that's great."

There will be a surfboard drop-off zone at the boat ramp at Waipu Cove. Mr Cunningham is expecting parking to fill up quickly at the Cove so recommends people park at the reserve 500m north of the Cove.

Follow the event from this year in to the future at

- Northern Advocate

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