In many ways the home of standup paddleboarding in Auckland. A beautiful, long urban beach always bustling with activity with the stunning backdrop of Rangitoto. Takapuna also throws up a variety of conditions from flat water to bumps and waves so there's something for every paddler here.
If you are looking for SUP events to keep fit, challenge yourself and grow your experience, The Beach Series happens here every Tuesday through summer.
Most parking in Takapuna is paid parking, however there are a number of car parking areas to choose from along The Strand and at the public boat ramp at the end of The Promenade. On a fine day and in summer Takapuna Beach can be busy so be prepared to hit the beach early or to be a little patient. Or if you're paddling with friends, off load all your gear and then find a place to park.
In a sense water access is easy. From the beach or the boat ramp. If using the boat ramp, watch out for cars and boats launching and if you want to avoid all that, walk to the beach and launch from there.
You can access the water anywhere along the beach, just bear in mind you may need to carry your board, paddle and PFD (and anything else you need) from where you are parked to the water. So there is a walk and the Reserve is hilly: downhill on the way to the water and uphill on the way back.
There are toilets and showers beside the Beach Reserve Playground (south end of the beach) and toilets outside the Takapuna Beach Cafe near the boat ramps.
Lots of choice. However, if you want a coffee or smoothie with other paddling enthusiasts, take a short walk to Ocean Culture. Otherwise you'll be able to find cafes and restaurants on The Strand, at the boat ramp or elsewhere in Takapuna.
Depending on the wind direction, it's possible to paddle at Takapuna at high tide and low tide and anywhere in between. As a principle, remember that at high tide you'll be able to paddle closer to land so in some wind conditions there's more shelter.
For primo flat water paddling, a still day with little or no wind is ideal.
Southerly, south westerly or westerly wind directions: The water will be flat close to shore, especially at high tide because it's sheltered by Takapuna. However if the wind is strengthening (12 knots plus), there is risk of being blown off shore (from land towards Rangitoto). So in these conditions, paddling along the shoreline and in shelter of the cliffs should keep you out of some of the wind. As we said earlier, that is easier at high tide. If the wind is westerly, our south westerly there will be a wind blowing across you so be prepared to paddle more on one side than the other.
Northerly and north easterly wind directions: This is likely to be when waves and bumpy water happen (especially when combined with an incoming tide and/or a sea breeze). This is good news for those wanting to grow their experience in different water and wind conditions because you can take steps towards getting used to and building skills in these more challenging conditions.
If you’re looking to sharpen up your skills in catching bumps and ‘surfing’ the bumpy water, Takapuna is great with a 12 knot plus north easterly breeze blowing in. Paddle out into the wind and catch the bumps back to the beach. Great practice while keeping close to shore.
And even when there's not a solid wind, often there are little waves at Takapuna rolling in with a swell. Great opportunities to start and practice catching small waves.
To check weather, wind direction and tides download the Coastguard app or head to Metservice. The real time wind readings from Bean Rock (Coastguard app) will give you a good sense of what's happening in the Harbour. If you want added safety when on the water you can log your trips on the Coastguard app.
The boat ramp is busy in summer so keep your eyes up and watch for boats and jet skis entering and leaving. Remember that Maritime law requires paddle boards (as the smaller vessel) to give way to other boat traffic.
On the harbour side of the boat ramp there is a marker pole sticking out the water to alert water users to Takapuna Reef. Coming off your board here could result in cut feet and legs so especially towards low tide, steer clear of the reef.
And heading past the southern end of the beach, be mindful of rocks in the water at the bottom of the cliff face especially if the tide is low. Always keep in mind you need enough clearance for your fin so it doesn't hit any underwater objects.
While we've aimed to point out the key features of this location, our guide is not intended to be exhaustive. Please be mindful of any risks you identify when paddling and if in doubt, be cautious.
Photo credit: Georgia Schofield