Surfers slipping into Kaikoura from around NZ to try new surf breaks created by coastal upheaval

By Sarah Harris

Surfers are keen to rip on the new surf breaks in Kaikoura, they're slipping into the town through dodgy routes.

Coastal Sports owner Dwayne Fussell thought a few surfers had made it through from Christchurch.

"There's another route they're getting in on but they don't want to publicise that. It's pretty dodgy.

"I think they're cutting farmers' fences and all sorts of stuff."

It is believed they're coming through a road that joins up to Inland Rd.

Surf instructor Dave Lyons is not surprised surfers are trying to get in. He said there are a few little back tracks that a determined individual could get in on by using a motorbike or jet ski.

"Classic, I can imagine they will be trying to get in."

Coastal Sports Kaikoura owner Dwayne Fussell in his shop today. He says surfers from around NZ and overseas are excited to learn what new surf spots have been created. Photo / Alan Gibson
Coastal Sports Kaikoura owner Dwayne Fussell in his shop today. He says surfers from around NZ and overseas are excited to learn what new surf spots have been created. Photo / Alan Gibson

Civil Defence controller John Mackie warned that Inland Rd is dangerous to travel on and the public should not attempt to do so.

"It's still a very, very hazardous route ... It's not about the driver capability it's about the landslide rock fall risk.

"We can't afford to have people put at risk. Nor do we have the emergency response capability to deal with people trapped under a rock fall."

Lyons has been scouting the coast on his jet ski observing any changes to the breaks. He said the low-tide breaks like Kahutara and Meatworks by Hapuku have improved and will give surfers more time to snag waves.

Whereas high-tide break Mangamaunu might not be as good with less surfable time. Although he is hopeful a new break has appeared in the same area.

Fussell said it looked like the beaches near town will be better for learners and children now as they have shallowed and the break at Clarence Point is peeling perfectly. But any changes will take about a year to fully comprehend as the surfers need to see the break in all combinations of wind direction, tide and swell.

"The problem with the Clarence is it's always been too deep. If that's shallowed out it'll be great."

Reuben Lyons, 12, pictured on the rocks. Photo / Alan Gibson
Reuben Lyons, 12, pictured on the rocks. Photo / Alan Gibson

Since Monday's earthquake lifted the seabed up to 2.5m in some places surfers have been fizzing over what this might mean for their sport.

Fussell thinks once the road is open surfers will be some of the first tourists coming back. He said as long as the surf is good they won't mind driving around a few boulders to get there.

"The surfers are a bit excited actually. Which is a bit silly but I guess there's a silver lining [to the earthquake]."

This is a reflection of surfers being the first tourists to put Kaikoura on the map as a destination in the 1960s. Despite their loyalty Fussell said a lot of tourism operators neglected surfers as they didn't think they spend enough money.

"But those guys come up 10 to 20 times a year, they're still here spending money.

"They're not all just on the beach eating baked beans."

A surfer pictured enjoying perfect conditions today. Photo / Alan Gibson
A surfer pictured enjoying perfect conditions today. Photo / Alan Gibson

There's international interest in Kaikoura's surf too. Fussell has received emails from people all over the world asking how the surf was affected by the earthquake.

"I got an American guy this morning who came here in the 70s, loved the place, always wanted to come back and wanted to know if the surf is still here."

- NZ Herald

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