Contrasting shores – Surfline

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Photography by Craig “CPL” Levers and Jereme Aubertin.

Just at the right time, Mother Nature made the seasonal change to winter this week. June 1st is the official first day of winter in New Zealand and it was certainly like that, with some pretty miserable weather across the country. We also faced quite a rough hand of surf across the regions. Less than marginal conditions for the eastern side of the North Island and, well, much the same for the west, which is currently battered by strong, disorderly swells and northwesterly winds. You’re all probably seeing a lot of blue color in your bookmarks bar, indicating poor or very poor ratings.

However, there is always a window among the chaos. It may just be a fleeting glimpse of sunlight adding a slightly brighter vibe to an otherwise terrible surf. Or in the case of Piha on Tuesday afternoon, an unexpected NE wind shift combined with a few other very rare elements, creating a local delicacy!

Did someone say Kirra? Photo: CPL

Dune Kennings, in the right place at the right time. Photo: CPL

Our correspondent Piha Craig “CPL” Levers picks up the story: “It was the shortest window. This swell direction and clean winds are fleeting rarities. It must be the lowest of the tides and it’s only ever for a few hours above the low. I returned to the beach after running errands in town and thought to myself, is this offshore? It wasn’t quite yet, but it was clearing up quickly.

“Being in the parking lot is kind of a badge of honor. Welcome, welcome my friend, you saw what I saw too eh. All the reasons and justifications disappear, nothing else matters at the moment. The foam levels in the parking lot are staggering. We’re all frantic and determined. If there were any non-surfers present, I’m sure they’d be laughing at the shared amp. Wax the biggest one. plank, get wet and say a silent prayer so you can pass the guillotine.

Dune Kennings adds: “So I was on the tools and got a text from CPL, ‘the caves are on’. I quickly packed my bags and shot home to grab some planks, then I went straight to North Piha, got ready without checking it, waxed the step-up and ran over the sand dunes to see crazy Kirra-like waves take off on the beach.Photo: CPL

“It was one of those days where all the stars align and you have an unforgettable session.” Photo: CPL

Tim Bailey, also very happy to be on the pulse. Photo: CPL

Admire it, to the sound of things it’s a very rare sight. Photo: CPL

It takes a certain type of surfer to make trash waves look fun, Kehu Butler is definitely one of those types. Photo: Aubertin

Then there was the east side the next morning. A stark contrast to Piha, but a bit of shared warmth, a bit of sun and an urge to shred saw Te Kehukehu Butler and his younger cousin Taimana Marupo having fun in some terrible waves. Kehu is absent Australia is competitive and surfing for most of the year so he loves coming home, picking up his young cousin Tai and going to some of the beaches he grew up surfing on all the time as a what big. As Kehu says, “The main beach (Mount Maunganui) is definitely not known for good waves, not even close, but it’s great practice for events on the QS. The light NW winds made fun ramps on the straights in the middle of the beach. The Mount rarely gets good aerial sections, so Tai and I made the most of it this session.

Taimana Marupo and Te Kehukehu Butler. Photo: Aubertin

Tai loves hanging out with his cousin, he thinks Kehu’s stories of life on tour inspire him to surf hard. Photo: Aubertin

Kehu gets sharper every time he comes back from overseas, his strike rate this session was quite high. Photos: Aubertin

It only takes one wave to make a session for the most part, in Kehu’s case he has over 10 waves to choose from. Photos: Aubertin

For us, Taimana seems to follow the same path as its big cousin. Photos: Aubertin

Luckily, the weekend is looking to once again bring nice winds: Northland East | West Auckland| Raglan | Taranaki | Bay of Abundance | Coromandel | Gisborne | Hawkes Bay | Christchurch | Dunedin

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