Surfing is a way of life for many New Zealanders and a joy for travelers. For those new to the sport, surf lessons are a great way to get out in the water with an experienced instructor and learn the ropes. The North Island has the warmest weather and is the surfing center of New Zealand; the South Island can get chilly but has good waves and fewer people. Surfing lessons usually include a board and wetsuit. Most surf schools are open year-round.

North Island

Raglan Surfing School (Raglan)

  • Located in the heart of New Zealand’s surf scene
  • Daily surfing lessons from beginner to advanced
  • “Stay and Surf” packages at the nearby Karioi Lodge

New Zealand Surf Tours (Shipwreck Bay)

  • 4 hours north of Auckland at highly regarded Shipwreck Bay
  • 1 and 2 day surf school and individual lessons
  • Signature 5-day surf tours to different beaches around the Far North

Aotearoa Surf School (Te Arai)

  • 1.5 hours north of Auckland
  • A “mobile surfing school” based in Te Arai with flexibility to find the best surfing conditions in the area for that day
  • Great for beginning surfers and those looking to fine-tune their skills

Muriwai Surf School (Auckland)

  • 30 minutes west of Auckland
  • Twice daily beginner classes and individual lessons for intermediate and advanced surfers
  • Surf shed is a short stroll from the beach

Piha Surf School (Auckland)

  • Located 1 hour (40 km) west of Auckland on Piha Beach
  • Lessons for surfers from beginner to advanced
  • Open year round

Walking on Water Surf School (Gisborne)

  • Gisborne has 35 surfing breaks within 100 kilometers of town
  • Group and private lessons ranging from 2 hours to 5 days
  • Both male and female instructors with lessons for all ages and abilities

Real Surf (Wellington)

  • Located on Lyall Bay, Wellington’s main surfing beach
  • Lessons include introduction to surfing group classes, individual lessons, and group coaching
  • Open all year

South Island

Board Silly Surf School (Kaikoura)

  • Guided by local professional surfer Dave Lyons
  • 3-hour lessons include transport, equipment, coaching, and refreshments
  • Bookings are available at R&R Sport

Esplanade Surf School (Dunedin)

  • On St. Clair Beach 10 minutes from Dunedin
  • Individual and group lessons catering to all abilities
  • During the winter, surfing lessons are by appointment only

Catlins Surf (Curio Bay)

  • Scenic Curio Bay has an abundance of wildlife and good waves
  • Sandy bottom is perfect for beginners
  • Less people than other popular surf spots
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