You'll often see surf boards strapped to cars heading for the Wairarapa coast. Some of the North Island’s best breaks and biggest waves are at White Rock and Tora and Palliser Bay.
Tora, 60 min from Martinborough with four main breaks:
- The Bombora - to the left of the Awhea River mouth, is mainly a left with less consistent right.
- Tora Point - south of the Bombora is a long right hand point brake that breaks over rocks and boulders.
- Shipwrecks - a little further south, is a right hand wave with the occasional left.
- The best swell for these breaks come through to the east and occasionally the northeast and are offshore in westerly and south westerly winds.
White Rock, 70 min from Martinborough with two main breaks:
- The Spit - a long dry reef at the southern end of the bay about 200m offshore is both right and left depending on the angle of swell, and can provide stand up barrels in either direction.
- Seconds - is the other break south of the spit and is a heavy right-hand point break.
- These breaks rely on similar swells and offshore winds to Tora.
Palliser Bay, 90 min from Masterton:
- Dee Dees is a wave similar to meat works in Kaikoura. It is mainly a right hand wave with the odd left as well. It is a slow breaking wave, great for round house cutbacks and long bottom turns.
- Ning Nong (a.k.a Craps) is a long left hand point about 1km up the road from Dee Dees. There is also a reef just to the left in the small bay that can be surfed on the right swell.
- Both these breaks require a south or southeast swell to break and are best with a north or northeast wind. Watch for the northwest wind, which creates a nasty cross chop.
Lake Ferry, 30 min from Martinborough, is a pipeline type wave requiring the flow from the river mouth to rise a little to form a good bar. When conditions are good the wave is hot and heavy sucking up gravel and even unsuspecting surfers. This wave requires a south or southeast swell to break and is best with light northerly to northwest wind. Lake Ferry surf conditions.
Castlepoint, 60 min from Masterton, offers outstanding heavy beach breaks coming off a series of sandbanks and is considered by many to be a top-class surfing spot. The Reef, the Gap and Christmas Bay are the three best breaks, all being quite powerful and challenging in heavy groundswell conditions.
Riversdale is good for surfing first-timers.