Sunset Surf in Raglan

How can you wake up in Raglan Backpackers and not want to surf? There’s wetsuits hanging in the garden courtyard area, surfs towels just drying off from the day before, and freakin’ surf boards hung up on racks, for God’s sake! Today, we’re finally doing it – we’re finally surfing in Raglan.

Raglan is a mecca for big consistent waves making it the most renowned surf spot in New Zealand. We get great vibes about the place from all the keen surfers staying at the Raglan Backpackers, who are keen to tell us how “pumping” the surf has been that day. This probably won’t make a huge difference to us beginners (well, sort of beginners) but at least we know there will be waves to learn on. That’s always a plus!

Watching the pro surfers do better than us

Raglan Surfing School pick us up from the library, right in the centre of Raglan town, and take us to Karioi Lodge where they do their theory sessions. On the way, we get an awesome view of Ngarunui Beach, where we’ll be surfing today, and Manu Bay. Robin insists to the driver that we stop to take photos. We get awesome views of the pro surfers riding the barrel waves from Manu Bay, on after the other. We kind of guess that’s not what we are going to look like when we surf, but we take photos to Photoshop our faces on later…

The surf lesson in the shed

Within the forest of Mt Karioi is Karioi Lodge and the base of Raglan Surf School. Bing, our surf instructor from the US, introduces himself and gets us to pile into what can only be described as a huge shed for the surf theory lesson. Not quite what we were picturing for a surf lesson but we roll with it. We are joined by three German backpackers and have a blast with them learning to stand on the board without looking like an idiot. There’s also a huge painting hanging on the wall at the back of the shed that shows all the hazards of surfing that we need to be aware of. Visual aids are always helpful. The whole theory lesson is pretty interactive and is a great recap for us who have done a couple of these beginning surf lessons before.

Dance lessons, we mean, surf lessons at the surf shed Dance lessons, we mean, surf lessons at the surf shed
Bailing like a boss Bailing like a boss
Looking like she could be nailing it... Looking like she could be nailing it...
... But really, she is riding this tiny wave... and look scary as f*ck in the process ... But really, she is riding this tiny wave... and look scary as f*ck in the process

Ride that white water, bro!

Enough of this theory though, we want to get on the waves, bro! Bing drives us to Ngarunui Beach where we squeeze into some super tight wetsuits – something we definitely need in this winter water!

Looking sexy, we head onto the beach for a last minute lesson before heading out into the water. Yep, we nail it on the sand. Time to hit the surf! Robin runs in first. From past experience, Robin is pretty useless at surfing, as he was when we did stand-up paddle boarding, but he is keen as a bean! By some miracle, he stands up for at least two seconds before falling off the board. Wahoo!

Surfing at sunset

As for Laura, she just keeps riding that white water until she feels exhausted battling the relentless onslaught of waves. Suddenly, the sun starts to make its most epic setting of all time! The beams of light are breaking through the clouds and reflecting off the waves. This gives Laura a burst of energy to keep moving on and continue standing up on those white water waves, even if the water is only waist height… We are both feeling epic right now!

Bing is keeping us all in check, helping us out when we need it, or he feels we need it. He even initiates a “party wave” so all of us can ride the same wave. Ah, this is what Raglan is all about: surfing and being with good people!

Feeling “far out”

Back on the beach, we’re pretty knackered. Despite not being cold for a single second in the water, we start to feel the winter’s chill when we are packing the boards away. The drive back into Raglan town is buzzing as we reminisce on all the little (and some slightly bigger) waves we tackled.

Time to warm up in the spa pool back at the hostel then get ready for leaving “rad” Raglan to go back to Hamilton tomorrow. We’ll be getting the campervan repaired and hopefully checking out the Hamilton Gardens along the way. See you then!

Laura and Robin

Raglan's ultimate surf crew!
Raglan's ultimate surf crew! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want More?

Why not, ay? If you like this blog post, you’ll most probably definitely like these:

For all the cool little events going on in Raglan, check out our HerePin. We also put a lot more photos on our Facebook Group, Backpacking New Zealand, so our surf mates could check out the photos we took of them. The group is great for getting free lifts, buy, swap and sell and travel tips from other backpackers, so join us on the Facebook Group!

Until next time, bros!

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