White sandy beaches, warm clear blue water, and plenty of waves.
That's why the area is fast becoming the premier place in New Zealand to learn to surf.
And in this post you’re going to learn what makes this area so special, where to surf and when, and everything in-between.
Alright, let's go!
IS MOUNT MAUNGANUI GOOD FOR SURFING?
If you’re coming to the area to learn surfing for the first time you’re in for a real treat.
The beaches in and around the area of some of the best (if not the best) places to learn to surf in the country.
Well, the area is blessed with a shallow continental shelf which means soft rolling waves, perfect for learning to surf.
Whats more, unlike the West Coast that gets battered with wild onshore winds every second day, Mount Maunganui has the luxury of prevailing offshore winds.
Ideal for surfing for the very first time.
Now there are a lot of surf school's in the area, so you've got a lot to choose from, but if you're looking for the best place to learn to surf, we recommend Mount Surf School for a few reasons.
Firstly, they approach things is a little different to most surf schools.
Their coaches have had a huge amount of experience - with many teaching all around the world - and that really shines through in the way they’re able to impart that knowledge on their students.
Secondly, they've developed a unique system that’s tried and tested to get you standing on your feet and surfing, anywhere.
They've broken everything down into easy to digest bite sized chunks which you're taught through step by step.
Simple, and incredibly effective.
And last but not least, unlike many other surf schools that are just out to make a quick tourist buck they really care.
And that's why we like 'em.
WHERE CAN I SURF IN MOUNT MAUNGANUI?
The good news is you’ve got a tonne of options.
The best surf spots can be broken into three distinct areas:
Lets take a closer look at each:
MOUNT MAIN BEACH
Main beach is in the heart of downtown Mt Maunganui right at the base of the infamous Maou.
The waves break on a sand bottom with variable peaks along the beach.
At the North end of the beach you can occasionally find the odd tube as the waves wedge off the rocks and to the Southern end of the beach is a right-hand sand bottom point break known as the 'Blow-Hole'.
On its day the Blow-Hole can produce rides upwards of 150m long, a real treat for local surfers and visitors alike.
But be warned, when it's on it can get crowded so bare that in mind.
The Blow-Hole generally is the go-to spot in SW winds where the open beaches are all blown out being the only spot that's protected and offshore in these conditions.
BEST SWELL DIRECTION: N - NE
BEST WIND DIRECTION S - SW
Mussle Rock is our preferred location for holding lessons at the surf school for good reason.
The unique angle of the beach and the funnelling of the swell between Motoriki and Rabbit Island offer up some of the best learn to surf conditions in the country.
Long, soft peeling waves that can break up to 200M long.
Perfect for learning to surf.
BEST SWELL DIRECTION: N
BEST WIND DIRECTION SE - SW
The open beaches stretch for miles all the way down to Maketu, but the main breaks that pick up the majority of the swell will be found at the Northern end of the stretch of beach.
Although you'll find surfers scattered up the entire coastline, the go-to spots are Tay Street and Hart St.
Hart St being the breeding ground and first choice for most of the local contingent generally has the best banks and picks up the most swell.
Tay St is probably the busiest of the lot. It's location, and popularity with the longboarding community in the area oftentimes makes the area crowded.
But, if you get it on at the right times outside of the weekends and holidays you should be sweet.
Both breaks fluctuate greatly with the movement of the sand producing beach break waves of variable quality.
Generally speaking (but not always) you'll find the best waves around high tide.
BEST SWELL DIRECTION: NE - E
BEST WIND DIRECTION W - SW
CHECKING THE SURF: LIVE SURF CAM
Did you know it's possible to check the surf from the comfort of your own bed?
Yep, that's right, with the 24/7 live streaming surf cam in Mount Maunganui it's possible to get visuals of realtime surf conditions no matter where you are in the world.
There are two places you can access these live surf cam's - one is free and low resolution of the open beaches at Arataki, and the other is a paid, high definition livestream of Mount Main beach. Links to both below
Free low resolution cam: click here.
Paid high resolution cam: click here.
HOW TO CHECK THE SURF FORECAST FOR MOUNT MAUNGANUI
On top of the live web cam's mentioned above, it's also possible to check the long range surf forecast to predict the surf over the coming days.
To do this, we can use some online services that do an incredible job of predicting the surf into the future.
My favourite is Magic Seaweed. They're the most accurate and easy to read service out there...
...and, they're free
Here's a link to access the surf forecast for Mt Maunganui Main beach: Click here.
Oh, and there's one more handy service that locals use to check the current surf conditions, with live - to the minute - updates on the swell and wind conditions, and that's via the Harbour Conditions website.
But before you go check it out, just a quick word of warning, the website is terrible, like really terrible, but the information on the page is gold!
WRAPPING IT UP
With the area being so geographically blessed it’s easy to see why surfing in Mount Maunganui is so popular, and if the numbers of our surf schools are anything to go by then that trend is set to continue.
Will the area take over the top prize of best place to learn to surf in NZ from Raglan?
Only time will tell.
Either way, if you’re coming to the area and you’re looking to learn to surf for the first time you’re in for a real treat!
Ex WQS warrior, and all-round frother - Loz is the technical coaching queen at the House of Surf.
She is also a mindset and life coach and has a habit of living in her van way too much.