Surfbreak Protection Society
Surfbreak Protection Society
News Archive
The Whanga debate – Clarity needed – See it here!
25 Nov 10

Is the Whanga Bar broken? Long term locals know it is! Unfortunately too many visitors experience the wave as better than their locals (particularly Aucklanders). This doesn’t mean it is not broken it just says heaps about the endless number of short ‘make the drop and little else’ rides most Aucklanders experience on a daily basis at their local breaks. It’s important for you to read below before you check out Silas’s video via the link at the bottom.

© John Wilson

Paul Shanks, a Whanga resident since the early 70’s and long time surfer should know. Paul along with other long term locals and Surfbreak Protection Society have been battling the Whanga Marina Society since the marina’s inception and claiming that the channel dredging has changed the performance of the Whanga Bar wave dramatically.

The marina Society (predictably) challenges this but evidence from observations of the dredging

Paul describes it as follows;

cycles and sand movements demonstrates that changes in the bar are directly attributable to the dredging.

Straight after dredging the bar turns in to a multi sectioning wave with flat sections and close downs aplenty. 300m rides full of barrell and high performance speed & turn sections, that were plentiful, are now rare.

© John Wilson

Paul goes on to say that it is noticeable that as the weeks go by between dredgings the Whanga Bar is more like it’s former self. Then the next dredging action comes along and the Bar returns to it’s crappy new state.

After seeing Silas’s vid you can hear surfers talking. This is what they see and how they talk with their mates. I can hear it now "saw some footage of Whanga Bar, looks sick. It isn’t broke for sure!"

Paul again "Over those 3 days it was the best I had seen in 18 months but it used to be and should be way better —- it is at end of NO dredge cycle. That is no major dredging for 18 months and no mini dredge for 7 weeks so Marina channel getting back to natural depth and Bar stablizing. That is why I asked the Whanga Community board to conduct a survey now, i.e. prior to dredging (large) and 3 just after so then we will Know if the engineering has an effect on the Bar.

They have to ""give effect to" the NZCPS (New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement).
We are talking about a 10/10 wave that is now protected under Policy 13 and explicitly in policy 16 and is in schedule one of NZCPS.

It is also named as one of the world SURF heritage sites so it must remain 10/10 which it was not on those days – we must always compare Whanga-Bar to Whanga-Bar not to some lessor quality wave some where else which is where most of the visitors are from.

This why Paul asked Trev Mckewen – head of Faifax sport and short board surfer for his opinion as he is an expert on media reporting on sport and sporting venues.

Check out Silas’s Whanga Bar vid. Click here. Now, get active and give your support to Whanga Bar campaigners by joining Surfbreak Protection Society (only $15). Go to the contact tab on this website.


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