Experience Sand surfing in New Zealand – backpacking tips

Where can I try sand surfing and what should I keep in mind

In this article we will take a closer look at the phenomenon of sand surfing. What exactly do you need? Where can you surf and rent a board? How can you surf safely? We answer these questions here in this article. Have fun sand surfing in New Zealand.



  • What is Sand Surfing
  • Where can I surf sand in New Zealand
  • Which boards are suitable and where can I borrow them
  • How do I move safely and correctly on a sandboard
  • safety instructions
  • Questions, comments or ideas


What is Sand Surfing

Sand Surfing is usually the term used to describe a slide down a sand dune. Sand Surfing is not completely harmless, but promises a great adrenalin kick and lots of fun. Unfortunately, it is necessary to run up the dune first to be able to slide down. A great pastime and something for everyone who wants to get an adrenaline rush.

You can also try sand surfing in other parts of the world. The Arab Emirates, Israel, Australia, Africa or the United States, for example, are well known for their great opportunities. Sand boarding is one of the extreme sports and is usually practiced in desert or coastal areas. The advantage of sandboarding is that the sport can normally be practiced all year round as dunes or deserts are less subject to seasonal influences.


Zoe holding her Sandboard on the dunes

Zoe holding her Sandboard on the dunes


Where can I sand surf in New Zealand

In New Zealand there are some spots for sand surfing, the most famous spot on the North Island is at Te Paki Sand Dunes. This is also where the infrastructure for renting boards is best developed.

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In addition to the well-known Te Paki Sand Dunes there is also a huge sand dune in Ahipara. However, this dune is much less touristy, but also harder to reach by car.

A true insider with mostly few other surfers is at Hokianga Harbour. To reach by water taxi (approx. 27NZD) and the dunes end directly at the sea. The rental for a sandboard is directly included. Bookable via the I-Site in Opononi (Google Maps).

Another possibility is for the brave wherever there are higher sand dunes (from 10 meters height) with a steep gradient. With the right equipment you can get your adrenaline kick everywhere.

You can easily find large dunes in New Zealand via Google Maps using the satellite view. There are many more places than mentioned here, but many of them are only accessible by four-wheel drive.



View from Te Paki dunes to the sea

View from Te Paki dunes to the sea


Which boards are suitable for sand surfing and where can I borrow them

In New Zealand the most common type of sand surfing is with the bodyboard. Ideally, they have a plastic underside, so they slide much better on the sand. Snowboards can also be used if they are well guarded.

In Te Paki there are two places on the way from Kaitaia where you can rent a sandboard for 10NZD per person. These are signposted with large signs on the highway.

At the dunes directly there is also usually a stand, this is usually to be found with good weather of 10-17 o'clock. In the low season or in bad weather it is possible that this stand is closed.

If you want to have your own board, you can also buy a bodyboard in many sports shops.

For example, at the following shops:

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– The Warehouse Body Board (Link)

– Rebel Sports Body Board (Link)


How do I move safely and correctly on a sandboard

There are different approaches depending on the shape of the sandboard. In our experience, the safest way to do a bodyboard is to lie on your stomach, head first. So, you can use your feet to steer and brake. Don't worry, the sand is not as hard for the toes as it would be in case of a fall.

Even when sitting you can slide down the slope on a bodyboard, but here you lose control, so we only tried this variation once.

If you have a real board in the form of a snowboard or something similar, then you can also have a lot of fun standing up as an advanced snowboarder. Please note that the risk of injury is much higher in this case.

Especially at the beginning, make sure that you climb slowly. The soft sand looks harmless at first, but is not at high speeds.

You can find out more about our tried and tested sliding technique in the following YouTube video.



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Safety advices

Please observe the following safety rules:

  • Do not damage vegetation
  • Make sure there's enough room at the end of the slope to slow down.
  • Surf in lying head first. Standing up, you should only surf if your board has the appropriate bindings.
  • Start with shorter distances and climb up slowly.
  • All sand surfing is at your own risk


Sliding down on a sandboard

Sliding down on a sandboard


Questions, comments or ideas

You still have a question, we forgot something important or you have an idea for another great place? Then we are looking forward to your comment. You can do it here under this article. Have fun surfing the sand!


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