Shaun’s NZ host Basil Harrison rips apart a Tora right. Rick Jarvill photo.

Follow Surf & Adventure Co. crewman Shaun Devine on his surfing adventure through New Zealand. Words and photos by Shaun Devine.

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Rick hops in the car — already crammed with surf and camping gear — and says, “Last report I checked says the swell is on the rise from the south, peaking at 2 meters tomorrow night.”

A few different areas of option are discussed and then then a finite decision made: “Let’s go to Tora.”

The area in the Waiarapa known as Tora has multiple surf options; including several point breaks, rock-reef breaks and the odd beach break — all within a short walk or drive. We pull up to Tora Point and it’s small but clean. You can see where the potential for really fun surf lies.


The scene at Tora. Shaun Devine photo.


Home base. Shaun Devine photo.

The beach is a perfect campsite as we can check three spots from the tent including Tora Point, Stream and Pit. As the last remaining campfire coals were smothered, hopes were high on the first night.


Isolated. Inspiring. Shaun Devine photo.

Peeking out of the tent, the surf has built but not by much. We said, “No worries, the swell is expect to rise throughout the day. Should get fun before dark.”

To keep morale and energy up, we take to the ocean as if it were our playground and dive for paua, which is an edible mollusk known in Australia and the United States as abalone.

Our only other neighbors besides the grazing sheep are an elderly couple staked out in their cozy camper van just on the other side of the campsite. The old man would fish twice a day; and after he caught he and his wife’s meal quota, he would generously offer us the extras. So here we were with no surf, but a fresh feast of epic proportions on our hands.


Paua. We call them abalone. Shaun Devine photo.

Another morning and another peek out the tent. The surf is up — thats good. The wind is up — not good.

At this point everyone is getting a little eggy and anxious. We go for a grovel down the way just to wet the whistle. Back at the campsite we start to hatch potential plans: “Should we leave? It might be fun up at Castlepoint.” This suggestion is quickly countered with: “We’ve stayed here this long, I’d hate to leave it and it get fun tonight or tomorrow morning.”

No phone and no Internet means no contact with the inside world about the wind, weather and surf forecast.

Seeing as our latest Internet surf forecast was more than three days old, we might as well been four blind men looking for water in a desert. Just has hopes began to deteriorate, our friendly elderly neighbor strolls over with another generous gift — a newspaper.

“Heres yesterdays newspaper, maybe you guys can use it to help start your fires.”

We thank the old man once again and quickly turn our attention to the weather outlook section. There is a low coming up from the south, just a little slower than expected, and still projected in the 2-meter range (around 5 feet). With the following morning’s wind projected to blow offshore out of the northwest, our once-turmoiled decision suddenly became a simple one.


Layers of light. Tora. Shaun Devine photo.

Another early, yawn-greeted morning and another peek outside the tent. The sun hasn’t broken the horizon, but the waves are clearly visible. Just as I’m making sense of what I’m looking at I hear Basil, already outside the tent chirp, “Yewww, we are going surfingggggg!”

I know by the goofy tone in his voice that it looks good. Jumping out of the tent I focus on a clean, overhead set streaking across Tora Point. For the next six hours, the four of us shared the fun waves on tap without another soul in sight. When the tide filled in, we moved to the inside break called Tora Stream: a nicely-shaped ripable right-hander that would satisfy the hungriest of surfers.


Shaun puts the rails of his 5’6 Clark Shapes retro twin to work. Rick Jarvill photo.

The three-day stint at Tora was rewarded with patience, excitement, surf and adventure.


Basil, Tora Point. Shaun Devine photo.


Basil. Rick Jarvill photo.


Shaun: Speed & flow. Rick Jarvill photo.


Basil: Functional style. Rick Jarvill photo.




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