Austin Charvet ABROAD Leave a Comment

New Zealand is pure magic. A wild country covered in giant Jurassic ferns, spindling vine tendrils and cushy mosses bursting out of every seam. Such beauty is beyond words, and can only be measured in stolen breaths and mind melting moments.

There’s some sort of mysticism hidden in this place, a tropical exoticism mixed with a powerful Pacific Northwest vibe. The scenery will swallow you in a childhood fantasy wonderland, the kind where you’re frolicking with forest nymphs and hiding from giants.

Eventually you’ll explore the wild bush to its end. At either end you will find two separate, spell-bounding powers. On the upper end you will see the green fade into grey granite spires, frosted ice castles that melt into the jungle. Such gnarled structures pierce the sky and claw at clouds as they wisp by.

From Antoine Barrès @antoinebarres

Then there’s the other mysterious end of the spectrum. The end that has stolen many a-human heart: the end where the green turns blue and stretches to infinity. The ocean.

New Zealand has thousands of kilometers of coast line. Two massive islands differing in: feel, space, time and  touch. Both caressing the ocean in their own sensual ways, with smooth, sandy, secluded, jungled coves. Shifting sandstone cliffs turn the tint shark skin murk and give it that epic “Point Break” feel, even if they’re just  beach breaks. Rugged, rocky, spits jut out and smash swell into mystic sea smoke. Like a feel only found in Middle Earth… If only Mordor caught swell.

There are a lot of feels and visuals down here in these pure, powerful waters. All of which are accompanied with a whole host of marine creatures: from cold, lapping, kelp swirling in sharkskin grey storms, to turquoise Tropicana dolphin dance floors. You can surf in just a rash guard with rainbow reef fish, underneath an o-zone less sun; or cruise a little down south and find yourself surfing with falling snow and waddling penguins. Whatever your taste for adventure entices, New Zealand waters will provide.

With such variety of breaks, New Zealand surf seems to have something for everyone at any given time. It’s position on this wet planet plays a significant roll as well. The convergence of the Pacific, Tasman and Antarctic Oceans and seas collide and create crazy pulses of storm energy, surging through and firing on all cylinders in every combination of cardinal direction.

Author: Austin Charvet

New Zealand seems like a dreamy surf setup, but alas, it’s not picture perfect. There’s one big player that dictates your doom or marine divinity: the wind. It blasts down here, and every Kiwi seems to be pretty in tune with the jet stream; as if they can speak to it. Even the old women serving mince pies in dingy cafes will feel the north-westerlys picking up and predict their exact duration. Bear in mind, they haven’t been to the coast in decades and sure as hell have never surfed, they just know the ways of the wind. But don’t let the howlers deter you. It’s pretty easy to bounce to the other end of either island and turn those wind ripped shreds of foam and fury, into glassy offshore glory in a few hours.

Living the #vanlife helps


There’s something magic in the NZ offshore wind, beyond the obvious prolonging face and smoothing shape. It might be watching liquid turn vapor, an ethereal mist, before your eyes. Indicating the climax of a rideable wave and registering something sacred in the soul of a surfer. It’s straight science with some out of body energy in there too. It is part liquid, part gas, part vapor, part earthen witchcraft.

From – Tim Marshall @timmarshall

It would seem everyone has had the same NZ wet dream these days. The “Kiwilandia” obsession is understandable, due to its endless opportunity to explore the wild bush, high alpine and/or role play in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But most outdoor adrenaline junkiez, soul searching and stoke hunting, will find there way to the sea. For we all “secretly” want to be surfies. There are countless: shaggy dirt bag climbing bums, whitewater wasted wanderers, turbo ultralight euro mountaineers, and 1/2 narc’d scuba weirdos on the NZ travel train, and I can assure you, they all eventually find themselves flailing on a soft-top at sea.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

For the siren’s song is strong in this wild country. So buy a plane ticket, brush up on the trilogy, get a campervan, pet a sheep and cruise this quirky country of cheeky Kiwis.

Austin Charvet was born in the lush Pacific Northwest. He has spent the last few years working seasonally between Jackson, WY and Ventura, CA. He works both as a raft guide on the splash and giggle Snake river in summer and at  a snowboard shop as a shred specialist in the winter. In California he works in the freaky field of outdoor education teaching kids how to identify wildflowers and eat apple cores. In off seasons he travels the globe surfing, climbing, kayaking, giggling, and trying to get into whatever weird magic he can find. This year he left the mountains of Wyoming and ran to New Zealand to learn the wonderful water ways of the Tasman sea.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *