It's not often you hitch a free ferry ride to Waiheke, but that was the case for four surfers who used a bit of Kiwi ingenuity to get to the popular island at high speeds and low costs.

Two weekends ago One50Group financial advisor Juan Cumar and his friends Mike Cann, Aaron Candy and Paul Butterworth were disappointed with the lack of surf on the coastline so decided to come up with a genius way to turn a stinker of a weekend into an adventure-fuelled trip to Waiheke.

Unable to get up on the hydrofoils in the flat surf, Cumar came up with the idea to catch some waves behind the ferry along with his group of friends.

Armed with foiling surfboards and jet skis, the crew took off from Half Moon Bay tailing their way behind in the wake of the ferry, much to the delight of the passengers on board.

A group of friends found a new way of catching the Waiheke ferry. Photo / Juan Cumar
A group of friends found a new way of catching the Waiheke ferry. Photo / Juan Cumar

"Our group have been doing water sports for years," the Chilean national told the Herald.

"Many of us are big wave surfers as well. We're usually away from people rather than catching ferries.

"It was a flat day so I thought why not go and generate our own fun by following the ferry. Turns out it took us all the way to Waiheke!

"We looked up to the top of the ferry and the captain was giving us the thumbs up. Everyone was filming and cheering. It was pretty amazing."

Cumar, who is a financial adviser by week but an adrenaline junkie by weekend, has been jet-skiing and surfing since he was a young boy but teamed up with his group of friends a couple years ago to give foilboarding a go.

The experienced water-sport pro says foilboarding has become extremely popular over the past year and believes the foil's ability to give surfers the freedom to have fun in all conditions is why the appeal is growing.

A group of friends found a new way of catching the Waiheke ferry. Photo / Juan Cumar
A group of friends found a new way of catching the Waiheke ferry. Photo / Juan Cumar

"It works like an aeroplane wing. You have one on the front and one on the back. When you generate enough speed it causes you to lift up and fly. A lot of people saw it with the America's Cup. You don't need a lot of speed to foil. It's a great way to surf when the conditions don't quite suit.

"Having foils allows us to ride those smaller waves, something you couldn't do on a regular surfboard or watercraft."


Cumar explained they had to find a boat that would generate enough pull in the water in able to create lift-off for the keen surfers.

"If we followed a regular boat it wouldn't generate enough power. So we looked at the ferries and we looked at the biggest ferry."

The experienced group of surfers have previously tried the idea before but never behind a ferry this size.

The group's incredible display has been met with criticism from Sealink, which says the activity runs "risks to participants of a high speed collision, as well as our passengers and crew".

Sealink believes the group broke maritime laws by jet skiing within 50m of another vessel.

The company has urged surfers to steer clear of the wake of large vessels, but the group told the Herald the jet-ski was more than 50m away.

Ferry foiling in Auckland. Youtube / Juan Jose Cumar

Cumar said the group was highly experienced and had decades of water safety behind them.

"I understand we got close to the ferry but we are always cautious of safety. Our mates on the jet ski were warning us when we got too close and were out on the water at a safe distance watching us in case something happened.

"But we were about 50m away most of the time.

"Our boards are designed to do this type of stuff and we had all the rescue equipment ready on the jet ski."