Surf­ing break names guide to per­fect waves

Stratford Press - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER REIVE

Scour­ing the names of breaks in Taranaki, a hope­ful surfer may come across the likes of Bog Works, Grave­yards and Spot X in the search for a wave.

For a lo­cal fa­mil­iar with the area, the names of the breaks are sim­ply that. For a vis­i­tor, though, they don’t ex­actly of­fer much di­rec­tion in terms of where the break ac­tu­ally is.

In­stead, they of­fer an idea of what the style of wave on of­fer is at the break, hint to its defin­ing fea­ture, or sim­ply look back on the spot’s his­tory.

Surf­ing Taranaki chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Wil­liamson says Bog Works, an iconic big-wave spot off the coastal walk­way in the mid­dle of New Ply­mouth, prob­a­bly doesn’t have the most ap­peal­ing back story.

“The raw sew­er­age used to run out of there back in the day, say 30 years ago,” he says. “So, aptly named Bog Works. The pipe’s still there. You can walk out along the pipe, jump off and pad­dle out to the break.”

Around the world, cre­ative names are given to surf­ing spots when nam­ing them af­ter a beach sim­ply would not work. A prime ex­am­ple be­ing at South Africa’s Jef­freys Bay, where there are eight dif­fer­ent breaks in­clud­ing Bone­yards, Su­per­tubes and Al­ba­tross.

There are plenty of cre­ative break names around New Zealand in­clud­ing spots like Forestry near Wells­ford, Titches near Porirua and Fos­sils near Christchurch.

Some­times the break names it­self.

“We have one around the coast called Fin Whaka,” Wil­liamson says. “I mean, that’s pretty ob­vi­ous isn’t it?”

For the novice surfer, it usu­ally pays to steer clear of such breaks. While the swell on of­fer can look invit­ing from the shore, these breaks tend to be more dan­ger­ous, be it due to shal­low wa­ter, rocks, swell size or cur­rents. And with plenty of eas­ier breaks to pad­dle out at, it pays to leave the more gnarly ones to the ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers.

In Taranaki, the likes of Fitzroy Beach are used as nurs­ery breaks where young­sters can learn the art of the sport be­fore tack­ling the tougher waves else­where. Fitzroy is one of the most re­li­able breaks in the re­gion, of­ten of­fer­ing small and punchy waves, but it can get big and of­fer barrels.

Wil­liamson says it’s the per­fect site for learn­ing the craft, and with Surf­ing Taranaki has es­tab­lished a hub at the beach from which to run com­mu­nity pro­grammes.

“At the mo­ment we’re fo­cus­ing on youth at risk, schools, and learn-to-surf pro­grammes,” he says. “The kids who start young, they’ll be life­long surfers I be­lieve, and what a gift to give them.”

■ Christo­pher Reive is a sports re­porter for NZME


The style of wave, a defin­ing fea­ture or some­times a surf­ing spot’s his­tory can in­spire the name of a break.

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