Worlds 2020 in Dunedin
Some things to help in your planning.
Mike De Heer, from Cape Town who now lives in Christchurch recently posted some useful trip notes for the SA Kneelo Facebook community.
They were written for SA surfers but his insights were too good not to share, enjoy.
- Emirates is good with surfboards. I took a coffin with 2 boards in 2017/2018 and had no issues or extra charges.
- The local city to city flights in New Zealand can be dirt cheap. Check out Air New Zealand.
- South Africans will need a Visa. I will find out more but I think it costs about R1800. EU passports holders dont need a visa.
- accomodation can be expensive. Good news there are loads of ex south africans in NZ. Hit them up for some couch surfing.
- tourists rent camper vans and travel the country, this can be a good option with a couple of mates. They allow "freedom camping" sites that are free to camp at but there are no ablutions so your van needs to be self contained.
- They drive on the left, which makes it easy (Kurt, there are trees). Note however that they dont have freeways. Travelling is slow and many people underestimate the distances. It is a big island. Roughly the size of Japan.
- wifi is available freely at coffee shops and fast, so dont bother with mobile contract.
- Surfing. There are loads of worldclass breaks. the West coast picks up more swells and the jewel on the weat coast is Raglan on the Taranaki peninsula. Raglan is like 3 Elands points next to each other (not as good and fast as Jbay Stevo). It is world class and the town is a real surfer town. Well worth the stop. Further south on the Taranaki peninsula there are loads of great breaks and this area is also the home of Kneeboarding in NZ with previous worlds being held in Opunake.
Water temp. while it can get warm, be safe and have a full suit at 4/3. Throw in hood as well.
Car rental and sights.
NZ Kneeboarding have arranged a deal with RAD Care Hire. https://www.radcarhire.co.nz. They are all over NZ and you can get a car at the airport. I would go with these guys.
The other iconic trip is to hire a camper van and travel up and down NZ. This is great for those of you wanting to do some travel before or after the worlds.
If you choose a camper that is self-contained i.e. has a toilet you can freedom camp. These are free locations at the side of the road where you can overnight. Very safe, nothing like SA.
From Dunedin there are some word-class things to see what are unique only in NZ.
- If you looking for more surf, the Catlins area in surf rich and 2h30 south of Dunedin. It is a national park with loads of surf spots.
- Queenstown is 3h30 hours drive and well worth the visit, beautiful town with lots of outdoor activities. Oh, and they now have an international airport so you could fly to Aus from here. (no surf)
Milford Sound is a 5-hour drive and breathtaking as the scenery in the fjords is amazing. No surf though.
Boards and wetsuits
Take your standard kneeboards. If you have an EPS/Epoxy take it for the smaller stuff there will be some small days.
There is a local surf shop for dings but bring all your own gear as the choice is limited. Cape town guys get “Cool” to “Warm Water” wax as “Cold Water” may be a little hard.
If you going to bring 2 wetsuits, take a 4/3 full and a shorty. Water can get warm (by CPT standards) i.e.17 to 18 deg but can also suddenly drop to 13 to 14.
If you taking 3 suits, take 4/3 full, a 2/3 sleeveless and a shorty. Throw in Baggies but chances are slim.
I don’t believe you will need a hoodie, gloves or booties (unless you plan to stay till June).
As Dunedin is a lot further south than SA, Summer is never a sure thing so bring some warm clothes.
There are many accommodation options in Dunedin. Options start as low as $50 (R500) to $320 (R3200) per night.
Airbnb is alive and well here and could be a good option if you are many looking to share. Search in the St Clair area of Dunedin.
If you have the bucks look at Esplanade Motel and apartments which overlooks the event site. A bit like Mossels and Vic bay events in SA.d good value.
Don’t delay making a booking as there are quite a lot of kneelos coming and places right by the event will go quick.
There are bars and restaurants by the beach, fast food is 5 min drive away.
A meal at a bar is $15 (R150) to $25.
A bottle of beer is $9 at a bar
A Pint of beer is $12 at a bar.
Supermarket lot cheaper.
All places take SA debit and credit cards (must be VISA or Mastercard) There is an ATM near the event site.
All bars and coffee shop have fast and free WIFI. The Dunedin City Council also provides free WIFI in built up areas. I did get them at the event site.
All bars and coffee shop have fast and free WIFI. The Dunedin City Council also provides free WIFI in built-up areas. I did get them at the event site.
Best for swell forecasting in NZ is Magic Seaweed (Windguru, no good this side of world.) The predominant swell direction is South and South West same like Cape Town. This is the swell direction for St Clairs.
As the NZ east coast faces a massive Pacific ocean there are loads of East and North East swells. Dunedin has beaches that benefit from these swells and they are backups to St Clairs. For a big North East swell just Google Murdering bay.
The best guide to the surf spots in NZ is a site called www.surfseeker.nz. This is a great site and shows just about every spot in NZ, even the semi-secret ones are on there. Be sure to note the required swell direction before you travel as different swells get into different bays.
The surf population in NZ is probably a bit smaller than SA which means a lot of the out of the way spots will be all yours on a weekday. A lot of them require 4x4 access and a bit of a walk. Sometimes you need to walk over a farmers land and you need to be respectful. A lot of times ask permission if you see the farmer. In the water the locals are friendly and always up for a chat, and normal surf etiquette applies.
Wind can be a factor but nothing like Cape Town winds. Mornings best, as glassy and clean.
There are great sand bottom breaks and banks that form at river mouth can turn on some great waves. The rest is rock bottom. St Clairs combines both rock (outside) with a bit of kelp and sand banks on inside and down the beach.
For those staying on in NZ the richest surf area in NZ is in Taranaki, known as the surf highway. Many of NZ best kneelos come from this area. Taranaki is on the West coast of the North Island with many world-class breaks. Well worth a visit and a bit further up is the iconic Raglan. Great little surf town and world-class lefts.