Photo Vicente Munoz
Photo Maxime Ballesteros
My good friend Harriet's family have a hut on the side of the road just out of Kaikoura, New Zealand. They won it over a game of cards a couple of generations ago, and every year they go stay there for summer. There are heaps of seals and last year we spotted some whales. We swim, eat sea food all day and boil potatoes in seawater. At night we make drinks, a little fire, and go to sleep full and happy with waves on one side and the odd ten tonne truck on the other. It's exciting – you sort of feel vulnerable. Kaikoura means, meal of crayfish in Maori. Kaimoana means seafood.
In Golden Bay, we stayed in a family friends barn. Awaroa is an inlet and very tidal, it is part of the Abel Tasman National Park. It's accessible by boat if the tide is high or foot if low, and there are no cars. There is also a tiny airport, but no power, internet, cellphone reception or shops. When the tide is high in the day we take out the little old boat to other beaches. The colours there are very different, and the sand is so soft. The name Awaroa means long river in Maori but given there are two rivers and neither are too long, locals believe it may have originally been called Awarua – meaning two rivers.
Kawau Island isn't too far from Auckland. You can drive to Sandspit an hour away and then catch a water taxi there. My Aunt and Uncle have a little bach that we've stayed at. It actually feels very luxurious, because they have power, hot water, an oven and a washing machine. You leave with your rubbish. There are lots of New Zealand's native birds to keep you company and a small Yacht Club where you can get a beer and some fish and chips. We pick mussels off the jetty, have barbeques and a few drinks with the view. Kawau was named after the Kawau Paka; the white throated bird which breeds on the island. Text and photo Harry Were
My first surf trips when I was younger were to the Caribbean, mainly Puerto Rico. Then I wanted to graduate to places I thought were somehow more exciting and exotic such as Hawaii, Europe, Central America and Indonesia. Some of these places entailed extra travel and for me that was part of the allure. The Caribbean just didn't seem that adventurous, a shortcoming of mine I later realized. Thinking back to stories my parents told me of their honeymoon in the 80's buzzing through sugarcane fields and how people there would stare through the windows of neighbors that had a working television, Barbados seemed like the perfect choice. Close enough to New York, yet exotic enough to satiate an adventurous palate.
For someone traveling solo I didn't do much research. Just a few Google searches that lead me to the loveliest of people, Ken Mayers. I found his email and he responded instructing just to bring him down an iPad in exchange for board, and he would be waiting at the airport for me. Ken sorted me with a place on Cleaver's Hill – a sparse two bedroom up on the hill over looking the fabled surf break Soup Bowls. Just how I prefer to travel, living amongst the local people.
Bathsheba, the area I was staying in seemed as if it was standing still from richer and more fruitful times. Many foundations stood unfinished or deteriorating back into the land unfinished and underfunded. Paint was chipped, bricks cracked, and metal rusted both from time and the salt in the air. I found comfort and beauty in the decay as flowers at times grew next to, or even entwined in, the degeneration. I found the texture of the palm trees and the light they cut against the blistering sun captivating. Walking for hours through hills and villages I excavated a layer of the island sweeter than the sugar growing in the fields. Not to mention the pleasantries exchanged with every new person encountered and the popular greeting "awright" ringing out. Text and photo Johnny Knapp
Photo Adi Gil and Chequamegon