7 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch© Unsplash
7 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch

10 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch

© Unsplash
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Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Where to Surf in Christchurch

Yes, even the South Island‘s largest city has some exceptional surf breaks to hit! Whether you want to learn how to surf or are an experienced surfer looking for your next challenge, there are surf breaks found along the coast of Christchurch to suit! What we love about most of the surf breaks in Christchurch is that most of them are fun rides for both beginners and experienced riders. What’s more, they are easy to access from Christchurch’s seaside suburbs. So check out this list of some of the top Christchurch surf breaks!

While you’re here, you might also be interested in the 45 Best Things to Do in Christchurch.

1. Stoke Street – Sumner Beach

For one of the most accessible surf spots in Christchurch, try this surf break on Sumner Beach (Scarborough Beach). Located on the sandy beach adjacent to the end of Stoke Street, the Stoke Street surf break is ideal for beginners or experienced surfers that don’t want to go too hard out. It’s best to hit this break at low-to-mid tide, but if you are surfing at high tide, watch out for rocks. Some local surf schools do lessons here, so it’s a great place to learn.

Location: End of Stoke Street, Sumner Beach
Best swell: From north to east
Best offshore winds: West to southeast

Eli Duke on Wikipedia© Eli Duke on Wikipedia

2. Breakwater – Sumner Beach

One of the most popular surf breaks in Christchurch, Breakwater is also located on Sumner Beach (Scarborough Beach) at the southeast end. The best waves are off the tip of Breakwater, but they can get pretty crowded on big days. This break is ideal for both beginner and advanced surfers, best surfed from low to mid-tide. Beware of rips by the boat ramp and watch out for rocks at high tide.

Location: Off Break Water, Sumner Beach
Best swell: From north to east
Best offshore winds: West to southeast

Bernard Spragg. NZ on Wikipedia© Bernard Spragg. NZ on Wikipedia

3. Mussel Rock – Sumner Beach

One last break at Sumner Beach, the Mussel Rock break on the west side of Cave Rock is a good one to hit in summer. At high tide with an east-to-southeast swell, the break produces fun right-handers off the rocks. These waves can be surfed by beginners to advanced riders. Be aware of rocks and rips by the estuary mouth.

Location: West of Cave Rock, Sumner Beach
Best swell: From east to southeast

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Taylor’s Mistake

One for intermediate to advanced surfers, Taylor’s Mistake is a stunning beach with a powerful beach break. It can get pretty crowded when it’s on so watch out for other surfers. Otherwise, the beach is just a good place to hang out and have a picnic. This surf spot also features in the 10 Places to Surf in the South Island.

Location: Taylors Mistake Road, 4 km (2.5 mi) south of Sumner
Best swell: Northeast
Best offshore winds: Northwest to southeast

Francis Vallance on Flickr© Francis Vallance on Flickr

5. New Brighton

Another popular beach to access from the city, New Brighton is a great surf spot for beginner to advanced surfers. The beach breaks are best tackled at high tide. Be aware that the beach and waves can get pretty crowded in good weather. Plus, watch out for drifts through the pier. Check out more things to do in the area with 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in New Brighton.

Location: New Brighton Beach, either side of the pier
Best swell: Northeast to southeast
Best offshore winds: Northwest to southwest

Pxhere© Pxhere

6. Spencer Park

A great spot if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Spencer Park is ideal for both beginners and the advanced. The waves are best at high tide and can even have waves when the other Christchurch surf breaks are flat. Be aware that there are sometimes strong side drifts.

Location: 15 km (9 mi) drive north of New Brighton, beach adjacent to Spencer Park
Best swell: Northeast to south
Best offshore winds: Northwest to southwest

Emma Kelland on Wikipedia© Emma Kelland on Wikipedia

7. North Beach

Another option within Christchurch is North Beach, home of surf legend, Mike Fanning. North Beach is a little further up the beach from the New Brighton Pier and has a surf lifesaving club. The best breaks are at high tide, with waves suitable for beginners to advanced. The dangers here are strong side drifts.

Location: North Beach, 2 km (1.2 mi) north of New Brighton Beach
Best swell: Northeast to south
Best offshore winds: Northwest to southwest

Pixabay© Pixabay

8. Hickory Bay – Banks Peninsula

If you don’t mind a bit of a roadie, head to Hickory Bay on the Banks Peninsula. Intermediate to advanced riders will love the consistently powerful and punchy beach breaks. The location is also stunning with huge cliffs and vibrant blue water. Explore the wider Banks Peninsula while you’re in the area using the 15 Best Things to Do in Akaroa.

Location: Hickory Bay, 92 km (57 mi) from Christchurch city
Best swell: Southeast
Best offshore winds: North to northwest

7 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch© Pxhere

9. Magnet Bay – Banks Peninsula

Another Banks Peninsula beauty, Magnet Bay is a little closer to Christchurch and offers an awesome left-hand point break for experienced surfers. Time your surf with low-to-mid tide and watch out for sharp boulders as you’re paddling out. Magnet Bay is also a good place to see the occasional seal.

Location: Hickory Bay, 69 km (43 mi) from Christchurch city
Best swell: Southeast and south
Best offshore winds: Northeast

7 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch© ChristchurchNZ

10. Tumbledown Bay – Banks Peninsula

A pleasant small beach break, Tumbledown Bay offers a sandy bay with a low gradient and small but surfable waves. Here’s a good place to learn or hone your skills as a beginner or intermediate surfer.

Location: Hickory Bay, 67 km (41.6 mi) from Christchurch city
Best swell: South
Best offshore winds: North

7 Top Surf Breaks in Christchurch© Unsplash

More About Surfing in Christchurch and New Zealand

That’s it for our list of the best surf breaks in Christchurch and New Zealand. For more tips to plan which surf destinations to hit, as well as to plan your trip to Christchurch, take a look at these:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Guide to Christchurch.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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