New Zealand is spoilt for quality surf. In our surfing New Zealand series, Christopher Reive explores the breaks around the country and catches up with our Kiwi stars.

At least eight lives have been lost on the Greymouth Bar.

Notorious with boating incidents, the often heavy surf near the sand bar makes getting into the West Coast town's port all the more difficult.

It's not just the ships entering port that experience troubles though. In 2016, a kayaker had to be pulled from the water after biting off more than he could chew and finding himself being battered in the punishing surf.


Had Elliot Paerata Reid heard these stories, he may have felt more of a sense of danger when he paddled out into storm surf in April this year.

Instead, his only worries were avoiding the floating logs in the lineup, and how many barrels he could tuck into.

"It was my first time to Greymouth. When I got there it was quite raw, there was nobody around and there was all these crazy logs floating through the line-up. There ended up being some pretty good waves in the end."

The Piha surfer was only in the South Island because of a planned trip to the Catlins near Dunedin, however a lack of surf there saw him look for other options.

What may be a surprise to some is that there are plenty of breaks throughout the South Island – and quality breaks at that.

"There's some of the best waves in New Zealand, if not the best waves in New Zealand, down here and barely anyone surfing which makes it quite unique and quite special," Paerata Reid says.

Perhaps it's the chill factor that keeps people from venturing across the Cook Strait; perhaps it's simply a matter of the time and effort it takes to get there.

Sure, some of the southern breaks like New Brighton, Sumner and St. Clair which are near the main centres attract board riders, a lot of the surf on offer in the South Island is largely untapped.


Like most areas in New Zealand, South Island breaks like the Greymouth Bar and those around the Catlins are dreamy when they're firing – but there's a familiar lack of consistency.

Paerata Reid, who surfs around the world competing on the World Surf League qualifying series, has seen plenty of waves. He says New Zealand stacks up in some places, but is blow away in others.

"I know New Zealand has some of the best waves in the world, I guess it's not as consistent as other places like Indonesia.

"If you get it on the right time, New Zealand has world class waves – you just have to know where to go and when to go."