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16 October 2014
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My three week jaunt to Aotearoa...

Ratter Hakka

Next day we got up early again, to beat the crowds at 5am! This feckin' holiday was starting to be more and more like a hardcore surf trip than I'd imagined but it was well worth it.

Oh boy Raglan was firing, a perfect 3-4ft, first half hour was gangbusters and when you weren't paddling back out, you were paddling for dear life to get out of the way of one of the 20+ others who were just about to take off on your head!

I learned a valuable lesson in duck diving that morning which probably saved me from having a very nasty fin gash in my head, back or board. So many close escapes, feet up, head down, paddle for the f**kin shoulder was a situation I remember, oh so well...

Raglan firing!Outstanding surfers of the day was a guy on a twinny doing mental tail slides, his board must have 20 years old and I noticed quite a few people who had old boards rather than new fangled thrusters.

Surfed out me and Jimbo went on a photo shoot. I saw Indicators well overhead with a group of locals in. I didn't venture in at Indies or Whale as they are classed as more localised spots. Jim surfed Indies late that night and got hassled a bit which was understandable. They must get so many tourists coming through, its hard to keep the integrity in the line up I suppose.

Saw Whale Bay just lining up and up and up. Was sick, just to watch guys getting super long rides in perfect sunshine on clear glassy waves. Whale was just looking bang on at low tide but I was saving myself for a Manu evening sesh.

Powered up on V drinks, Carrot, cake and PIE! The Kiwi's loves a bit of PIE don't they. Steak and Cheese PIE, cheese and mince PIE, smoked fish PIE, mince and for maximum energy, the BEHEMOTH of all Pies, POTATO TOP PIE, cheap nasty but the bad boy. Pastry heaven!

rattz at hickory bayHeaded of to Manu for an evening session. It's not quite like the uk where if you get down the beach at first light you might see 2 or 3 people. I was hoping that near dusk the numbers would dwindle, nah, still 25+ guys in, 10 of which were seriously sh*t hot and leaving the rest of us to pick off the left overs.

Towards high tide it started working all the way in toward the harbour wall. Rather than battle it out with everyone else I'd sit right on the inside, wait for the main section to close out and pick off the leftovers. I hate crowds at the best of times but when I'm still getting long workable walls who gives a monkey!

That night we enjoyed many beers and were both reeling after a solid days paddling. The expectation of our last morning was high but it was just too good to be true. Thoughts of staying in Raglan where slowly slipping away and the lure back to the UK was now prominent on my mind.

Manu was pretty flat, maybe around a foot and with only logboarders in we headed rounded the coast to beach that apparently is complete swell magnet.

Now we'd ventured round there to have a look when Raglan was four foot and this place was a solid 8+ on sets so we figured if Raglan was a foot we'd score with 2-3ft.

RuapukeStorming morning, sun out and donned the shorty for only the second time all holiday. Ruapuke beach is a stunner, good 10k's on dirt track round from Whale Bay. Takes forever to get there as the road is so narrow and you never know when someone is coming the other way. I had a near miss with a dumb ass tourist who was driving a motorhome down the road.

Ruapuke looked a good 2-3ft, maybe four on sets. I knew it was a good four because my shoulders started complaining as soon as I put my wetty on. As we paddled out I realized that it was a SOLID 4ft, maybe bigger on sets. 3 waves was all I was concentrating and first wave I went right, after surfing lefts solidly for 4 days it was so nice to go naturally right.

Managed my three waves, went in, no excuses - I was cream crackered! Took my last surf photo's before grabbing a bite to eat and saying goodbye to my welsh compadre Jimbo.

Drove up to Auckland and stayed with friends for the night. Auckland is well, a city! when its sunny, its stunning, plenty of places to eat, drink, ogle and chill however it's also the largest city in New Zealand and business capital. The sight of guys in suits, ties and talking IT just made me wanna lose my airline ticket, get on a bus, max up the credit card and stay!



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