Tony's New Zealand Surf Trip
After four years of high school in Costa Rica I left to see the world a little bit. I spent a year in Colorado, two years in Argentina, a year in Uruguay, a year in Minnesota, and spent some time in New Mexico, Norway, and a whole bunch more time in Costa Rica. To fund my travels I have taken on all sorts of short term work. I managed a good sized restaurant, I helped run an incredible organic farm, I started a horse tour company, I've worked as a substitute school teacher, English teacher and surf instructor. I've also done quite a bit of laboring.
Most recently I have been working from 7AM to 7PM Monday to Friday reforesting a 45,000 acre farm on the South Island of New Zealand. Absolutely brutal, physically demanding work. The first month on the job we spent planting a ten acre section with year old plants spaced every 3 to 6 feet. The day after we finished the farmers accidentally left a gate open, sheep got in, and ate most of our hard work. GUTTED!!!
I suppose I should start my New Zealand story at the beginning - which is always a good place to start. I spent 5 months in Minnesota working on a farm. I was figuring out where to go next and an incredibly well traveled (and beautiful) friend told me New Zealand is the greatest place they have ever been. So I bought a plane ticket.
Work to live - Don't live to work
I'm not big on planning trips, so when I arrived in Auckland I had not plans at all. On the flight I was told that Northland (the northern most tip of New Zealand) has incredible surf. So first thing I did when I got to Auckland was buy a bus ticket north. Turns out the person who sold me the ticket misunderstood me, so I was on my way south east... no problem.
I started hitch hiking (my preferred method of travel) and on the first day got picked up by a marijuana farmer. Needless to say, I accepted the invitation to stay the night at their house with their family and we all got totally shit-faced. I could write a book on that night alone, but you are probably more interested in surf. And so am I, so I left the next morning.
In Spanish "magia" means magic. On the east coast of the North Island there is a place called the Mahia Peninsula. Check it out on a map. "This place must have good surf" I thought. So I hitched there.
The town has a tiny store and a pub. The store wasn't hiring, so I walked into the pub, asked for a job, and they told me to come back at 4:00 PM. In the back of the pub there is a fish and chip shop and it was noon, so I ordered a basket of fish and chips. While I waited two cute girls came in, ordered their fish and chips, and then invited me to a party at their house. MAHIA!!
Everyone at the house party got completely drunk that afternoon and my ear couldn't understand the Kiwi accent. At times I thought that things were about to turn into a brawl, but only because I was crunk and couldn't understand what was going on. I obviously missed my 4:00 interview. There was a guy at the party who seemed to be the coolest person I had ever met in my life, so we started talking and he ended up taking me back to his sheep farm where I worked for him for a month.
Unreal experience. The work was shit, but no matter. I got to hang with the coolest person on the planet. We went pig hunting, trout fishing, deer hunting, fishing off his uncles boat a few times, kite fishing, wake boarding, surfing, diving... pretty much every possible outdoor activity. Nicest guy in the world for taking me along... and I was able to save up a few bucks and buy a car and a board.
I ended up going back to Mahia and getting a job in the pub after all. I would surf and fish every day and work nights. The job paid 15% less than minimum wage, so it was impossible to save any money. But no matter - I was living the dream. The only problem was my boss - a complete and total idiot. I had to leave after a month or I probably would have pissed in her gas tank.
I gave my surfboard to my buddy from the sheep farm and headed to the south island south to see what is regarded as the most beautiful place in the world, Fiordland. I ended up running out of money and living in my Honda Civic for three weeks with a 39 year old man who also ran out of money. Good times... I guess. Had to get a job to restock on money. That is the reforesting job I was talking about at the beginning of this page.
A couple weeks ago I met a beautiful hippi-ish yoga instructor who was traveling around New Zealand surfing. She was running low on money sold her camper van. Anyway, I sprung at the opportunity and we decided to travel around together surfing. I had saved up a couple thousand from my job, and was ready to move on anyway. I gave notice at my job that I would be around for another week.
The girl was using my car one day while I was at work. It over-heated, radiator exploded, probably cooked the engine. Major financial setback. Anyway decided to do the trip anyway bought a new (used) car and hit the road. That was Friday, today is Tuesday. On Saturday we left for Nick's Point. Head high and I got the longest right of my life. A kilometer long.
I have been working on this company since October and it hasn't been profitable. I need that to change now. Money is tight and if people don't start buying surf glasses I will have to settle down and get another job doing something horrible like planting trees on the sides of cliffs for 12 hours a day again. It isn't about being greedy or getting rich, I just want to surf and eat. I need to sell surf glasses to move on to the next break!
Hopefully you care about protecting your eyes in the water. If you do, this is the place to get your surf glasses. I sell only quality products and they will be delivered to you door in less than 10 days. Best of luck - and thanks for reading my story!
Near Cozy Nook - on my way to Fiordland
Yesterday I took the girl's board out (a 7'10" with fins that are way too small) and was able to pull a few 180 drop-ins which was fun.