Surfers and fishing enthusiasts around the country are making the most of the chance to get back to the water after the national Covid-19 lockdown went into level 3 at 11.59pm last night.

Tutukaka surfer Simon Egginton and his dog Mukie were among the first to catch a wave at Sandy Bay in Northland this morning. Around 50 other surfers were in the water.

Surf web cameras on surf2surf.com show Kiwis have flocked to catch waves around the country in popular spots this morning including Wainui in Gisborne, Wellington's Titahi Bay and St Clair beach in Dunedin.

Surfers at Sandy Bay. Photo / surf2surf.com
Surfers at Sandy Bay. Photo / surf2surf.com
Titahi Bay in Wellington. Photo / surf2surf.com
Titahi Bay in Wellington. Photo / surf2surf.com

Low swells at Lyall Bay didn't deter surfers from heading out in Wellington this morning while a paddle boarder also was on the water off Oriental Bay.

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Low swells at Lyall Bay didn't deter surfers from heading out in Wellington. Photo / Derek Cheng
Low swells at Lyall Bay didn't deter surfers from heading out in Wellington. Photo / Derek Cheng

Some sports possible under level 3 include golf, croquet, tennis, bowls, mountain biking, swimming, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, windsurfing and paddle boarding.

Fishermen Sean Bracefield and Lance Howarth were back into it long before the sun came up on Papamoa Beach.

Bay of Plenty fisherman Sean Bracefield and Lance Howarth watch the sunrise this morning. Photo / Alan Gibson.
Bay of Plenty fisherman Sean Bracefield and Lance Howarth watch the sunrise this morning. Photo / Alan Gibson.
Bay of Plenty fisherman Sean Bracefield casts into the sunrise this morning. Photo / Alan Gibson.
Bay of Plenty fisherman Sean Bracefield casts into the sunrise this morning. Photo / Alan Gibson.

Only three golfers were spotted on the greens at the Takapuna Golf Course around 8.15am, one by themselves and another two together - groups who were in a bubble could play together.

Sports Minister Grant Robertson made clear last week that everyone who plays sport at level 3 must follow the strict rules and guidelines.

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"I do think it's incredibly important that anybody who ends up playing tennis or playing golf in this situation sticks to the core principles," Robertson said. "So that is: only in your bubble, do not congregate, do make sure you only use your own equipment.

"Clubhouses and so on will not be open. So if it's a situation where you will need to book a time, you will have to do that online.

"Using those core principles, clubs will be able to provide that facility. But it will be limited and it would not be available on public courses."

The Government was succinct in its instructions to surfers: "If you are an experienced surfer, you can go to your local break. If you're not experienced, don't surf."

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Waimarama-based surfer Harawira "DJ" Morris told Hawke's Bay Today of his anticipation to get back in the water.

"It has been a long time out of the ocean," he said. "I know everyone that loves the ocean as much as me has been waiting for this day to come for some time.

"The surfers will be coming from afar to enjoy some ocean smiles all day long, I am sure."

Morris added: "It is normally a place where I get to gather myself and relieve all of life's stresses."

According to government guidelines, you can fish from a wharf or the shore, but cannot cast off the rocks or fish from a boat, as boating is not permitted.

Mike Burgin from Top Catch Whangārei said although fishing was allowed it was not from a boat or off the rocks, meaning jetties and wharves would become popular and possibly crowded.

"I'd say it will be a bit of chaos at local wharves and social distancing will go out the window with everyone keen to get a line in the water," he told the Northern Advocate.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website