THE HOME COMING TOUR
It’s no secret across the globe that New Zealand is a magical place, full of stunning scenery and friendly as people, and when it comes to surfing, untouched, uncrowded isolated waves set in a backdrop often compared to Never Never Land.
As Kiwis we are a proud nation of people, that hold our country of birth in high regard regardless of where life will take us. And for many of our country men and women who just so happen to have wound up working, living or growing up elsewhere on the planet, there isn’t a day that goes by that they aren’t thinking about the lifestyle back home or boasting of how great the Land of The Long White Cloud is! Often claiming to friends and colleagues that “We should do a trip home one day and you can see all the epic places and meet all my epic friends and fam.” Well that’s exactly the kind of prompt that saw kiwi lad Coby Perkovich throw together a little ‘Homecoming Tour’ and invite a few friends along for the ride to his birthplace and NZ surf hotspot Taranaki or Taradise as they so rightly refer to it locally. We featured Coby in a recent issue where we profiled his life from growing up in Taranaki to heading over to the Gold Coast like so many other Kiwis. And if you’ve checked in to any surf media in the world in recent times you’d realise that Coby is being touted as one of the most exciting free surfers in the world, specialising in aerial surfing and releasing video clips in association with his sponsors to showcase his surfing prowess. Part of these film projects focusses on the life of Coby and his story, so after beating on for years to his surfing bro’s in OZ, all about how epic the Taranaki coastline is, he managed to twist the arm of another high profile free surfer in Chippa Wilson along with a few other mates and boarded a plane bound for Auckland and ’The Homecoming Tour’. While the numerous variety of surf breaks that pepper the Taranaki coastline were the target, heading south enroute,
it would have been rude to not whip in for a bit of Raglan action, yet the boys timed their arrival with the weekend crowds and while it was enough to wet the appetite of NZ surf, the lads all looked forward to scoring lesser populated lineups down in the Naki.
You’ve heard it all before but every tourist you meet can’t offload enough superlatives to describe the scenery encountered during an Aotearoa trip and for Coby’s crew of which some were NZ virgins the sights of our land had them mesmerised
“I’ve always loved the scenery that NZ shows and just how you can easily get stuck staring at the hills and streams whenever you drive anywhere, which is something the boys all loved. To return to the place where I was born and surf all the spots I spent heaps of time at with my dad when I was younger and share these with my mates and capture this journey for an upcoming clip which will hopefully paint a picture about myself and where it all started for me”.
As soon as the lads rolled into New Plymouth Coby began to feel like he was back in a special place, he had spent many years growing up in the Gold Coast but during the first few minutes of pulling into he was already running into childhood mates “Once we got into New Plymouth I told the boys to pop down Beach St to check Fitz. So we ran up the little hill to check the waves and a couple of local guys had their cars up the top and I was looking at one guy and we both recognised each other, it was Dada from Seasons who has known me since I was born, so it was great to catch up and chat about how nice it was to be back and how it hasn’t changed at all which is awesome and one reason NZ still is one of the best places to come for surf trips as everything is so untouched.”
With a healthy forecast of offshore winds and plenty of ground swell on the cards the lads were already throwing down some predetermined plans of what breaks would be surfed and when, what they didn’t know is that massive volcanic cone of a mountain
that stands over the region known as Mt Taranaki usually has the say in the weather in these parts and can twist and turn the prevailing winds whichever direction he chooses. I say ‘He’ as in Maori legend Taranaki once lived inland alongside the other Mountain Gods Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu before a gigantic love fuelled battle broke out and Taranaki feeling heartbroken and raged took off in the direction of the setting sun and while resting at the edge of Aotearoa was snared and trapped by the Pouakai Ranges in the place he now rests. He alone still till this day messes with the winds and feelings of local surfers, turning offshore winds onshore and bending and twisting the breeze up and down this coastline.
So, pulling up at one spot to find the easterly was now northerly, no problem, just head further down the coast where it would be offshore only to find the northerly down there was bent into a southeast. So, with Taranaki playing with our emotions and after navigating every road that runs off Surf Highway 45 searching for options, a perfect Aframe peak was spied at the end of a short gravel pothole filled road, sound familiar? With both goofy and natural footed surfers in the mix the perfectly groomed set-up had all the lads foaming, not only that, they had it to themselves! This was just as Coby remembered epic waves with no one around and he couldn’t help but compare to his surfing life back in the Gold Coast.
“I love it here compared to home where it gets so hard to surf with only a few guys out, I constantly find myself driving down the coast to get away from the GC madness, but over here you just have to go down next road or around the next corner”.
And that’s exactly what the lads did throughout their stay, shuffling in between point breaks, punchy beach breaks and working the winds and tidal shifts to score the gems of Taradise. Until the Homecoming sequel, we’re sure the boys will be back!
BELOW: The green green grasses, bushes and trees of home. Coby introduces his team to the kiwi style of surf adventures.
"So Chippa brother, this is where I grew up! Pretty sick ha!" - Coby stoked to show Chippa around the place where it all started for him.
RIGHT: Being based in a the Gold Coast with sand bottom right points on tap, Coby was foaming to get out on this left as soon as he laid eyes on the setup.
ABOVE: Surf Highway 45 options whichever way you prefer to go.
BELOW: Coby and his bros found the punchy beach break of Fitzroy much to their liking.
LEFT: Coby navigating the rugged coastline of his birthplace, a little different to white sand and boardshorts laps at Snapper.