Nelson and I began surfing 2 months ago. While we are certainly not expert, or even intermediate surfers, today we moved beyond grommet status.
Raglan is known for three world-famous breaks (See Bruce Brown’s 1964 surf classic Endless Summer): Manu Bay, Whale Bay, and Indicators. Supposedly Raglan has the longest left-hand break in the world. By the way, according to Lonely Planet NZ, due to all of the surfers “Raglan may also be NZ’s best-looking town”. But I digress.
Although we live in this town of beauties and renowned surf spots our surf career thus far has been limited to the lesser-known Wainui Beach. Rather than being the site of an infamous surf movie, this beach is the site of dozens of surf lessons a day teaching pasty white kooks how to ride soft-topped foam 10-foot boards. The surf is dumpy, you can’t help but get slammed by the waves while paddling out, and strong rips might pull you either towards the rocks or out into the harbor. It isn’t ideal, but there are lifeguards, generally small waves, and after a few days it isn’t too hard to be one of the better surfers in the water.
We have avoided the famous spots because of what I suppose you could call a surfer inferiority complex. What if we get in someone’s way? What if we can’t get out past the breakers? What if some big tough local guy bullies us?
Well, no longer can say I’ve lived in raglan and never surfed the big breaks. After some coaxing from equally beginner surfer friends Nelson and I surfed Manu for the first time today. It did happen to be a particularly small day, but it was a milestone. I equate it to my niece Matilda sitting up for the first time (minus the crying and drooling).