- WHALE BAY -
New Zealand is a surfers playground, with coastlines facing in every direction and with ocean swell from every angle. Generations of New Zealanders have grown up with a love of the sea. In my family we grew up on the ocean as a result of living on Auckland's North Shore beaches. I can still remember Dad pushing us onto waves body-boarding, which we called boogie boarding for some reason. At age 13 I tried stand-up surfing at Tarwharanui with one of my friends from school, after a near death experience on a reef I never gave surfing another chance until 15 years later.
Raglan is best known for its surf, sunsets and Hippies living the dream. On a recent trip to Raglan we camped on our friends lawn, who were doing exactly this. There must have been about 25 people living there, it was like a hostel but smaller. It was great, they knew the surf forecast, which was looking good and how it would affect each break. We ended up at Whale Bay & Indicators. The crashing waves on the rocks looked like instant death upon entering the water, so I quietly shat myself on the rocks while they leapt off like penguins and paddled out to the two breaks. The landscape here I found to be visually more exciting than the famous Manu Bay of 1966 movie The Endless Summer. Indicators is a left hand point break that breaks for up to 600m, from 2 - 10 feet plus (Hawaiian scale) with a lagoon separating it from Whale Bay. On big days Indicators can link up with Whale Bay! – the locals told me this has only happened once.
I wanted this painting to be quintessential of surf culture and Raglan. The captivating west coast sunset in its psychedelic hues, clean sets like corduroy across the dark sea, a cheeky beach babe proudly checks out her boyfriends ride with her tasseled hair embracing the whole carefree casualness of the culture.
In New Zealand, if you search hard enough, you will find a surfable wave every day of the year. The true beauty of our surfing experience in New Zealand is our unspoilt landscape and mostly under-crowded waves. Most of the time you’ll even get a smile, a laugh and a good yarn with someone in the water. ‘Keep this our secret’