Stand Up Paddle Boarding to Donut Island – Day 12


Day 12 on the Road

An Awesome SUP Trip in the Coromandel

Today we are joining SurfSUP in Whangamata, Coromandel for stand up paddle boarding to Donut Island!

So today we are having a bit of a surprise water activity. All we know is that we are meeting Naomi from SurfSUP in Whangamata today. Judging by the name, we’re going to be doing surfing or SUPping, which is stand up paddle boarding.

We decide to take a long stroll on the Whangamata Beach, which is the longest beach I think I’ve ever been to. There’s like 14 different access points and they’re all super far away from each other and, you know, when you’re at the beach and it’s sunny the thing you have to do is get ice cream so we go get ice cream.

So Robin’s called a double ice cream raspberry drizzle and chocolate, plus an ice cream passionfruit and whatever chocolate and some fancy drink: pear and passionfruit and pear and feijoas. And all of that for about six bucks.

So, the time has come, we are going to go paddle boarding. Naomi gives us a really quick run-through of what to do on a paddle board. Seems pretty simple. I mean, once you’ve watched people do it, you kind of think: “Just stand up and paddle, Ok?” Here’s what you do, you hold a paddle, you paddle on both sides. If you fall in the water, just get back on the board.

I am having a hard time balancing but I’m still dry right now so I’m congratulating myself.

Here comes Robin. I’m just sort of cruising. It’s going pretty well. I mean, to start with I was a little shaky but you sort of find your right stance and way to stand and it’s pretty easy-going from there. I don’t feel like I’m going too fast at this point but my speed is nothing compared to when I turn around two seconds later me and Naomi are way across the ocean and Robin is a dot back at shore because he is super slow and it’s kind of hilarious because everything he does compared to what I do, he usually masters everything super quickly and it’s really annoying but this time, this time, I am the one who has mastered paddle-boarding and he is, in a word, shit. He’s shit at paddle boarding. And that is fantastic.

Here comes the French snail.

Also what I like about it is that you can just have a conversation. I was having with Naomi for the whole stretch across to Donut Island from the beach and every two seconds we would be waiting for Robin cos he’s being so slow and I turn around and be like: “Come on.” You know, it’s quite funny. It’s quite funny to do that.

So eventually, we get to Donut Island. But why is this place called Donut Island, we wonder. Well, it is because there is a hole in the middle of this island making it like a donut. Oh my God, who would have seen this coming? I was half expecting a donut stand to be waiting for me in the island but, I guess there was no donuts.

And we arrive inside and Man, this was the most gorgeous water hole I ever saw in my life.

It’s totally like Jurassic Park. It’s really awesome. I can’t even put into words how beautiful this place was.

We landed on one of those beaches and they were covered in little white shells everywhere which is a bit hard on the feet but it looked nice.

Apparently, years and centuries ago, there were two Maori tribes at war and the reason this is such a sacred island is that one tribe got trapped here in a storm and the other one basically guarded the entrance so they couldn’t get out and apparently they all just jumped off the side. the whole of the tribe died basically and apparently it’s very sacred because losing a whole tribe they were all trapped inside here and they couldn’t get out because the entrance was blocked so they all just jumped off. It’s just what I’ve been told. Who knows if it’s 100% true?

And the water in there was also really light turquoise colour and it just looked like something off a tropical paradise brochure or something. It was really amazing and both me and Robin had no idea this even existed until now.

Sun is setting, we’re paddling toward the sun, you know. The little town, the very flat town of Whangamata is just over looking at us. The water is still perfectly flat. You can see through the water. Literally even at the deepest deepest part of the ocean. You could see right through it and you could see the sand at the bottom. It was just mind-blowing, a few fish passing under. Just… Amazing.

We go back to the SurfSUP shop with Naomi and Cass. It’s a really cool shop. They do like a workshop there for surfboards and do the waxing for people. They also sell a few merchandise and things. It’s like a really cool little business they have there. And we head out for a beer.

I think that next time I’m going to get that board so I may be more stable. Right? Just saying.