Lyall Bay

Wellington central's southerly wind wavespot. Lyall Bay has a fast wave, which is basically a major beachdump. Generally cross-on to more onshore, starboard tack wavesailing. One bottom turn is usually the most you can get out of a wave. On bigger days, the waves form nicely further out, and they can get quite big. Waves are biggest in the middle of the bay. As waves start to close out it can be gnarly to get out though. Make sure you pick up speed and go downwind first, before attempting to get over the break, so don't rig too small a sail.

Wellingtons most popular surfing spot lies at the other (eastern) end of the beach, hardly any windsurfers go there as its not worth it, as the wind is too onshore.

There's plenty of parking near the launch and good rigging area down at the western end of the beach beyond the Maranui Surf lifesaving building and toilet block.

Who does it suit

Most of the time, Lyall Bay suits any level of wavesailing. It is safe for learning on light days with not much swell. If its heavy, which is often over winter, there is usually a couple of ripped sails and broken masts, but that's all part of the fun!

Be prepared to walk up the beach back to the launch on your first sessions at Lyall Bay.

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Aircraft at Lyall Bay

What are the best conditions

Lyall Bay can change its face radically, from gale force southerlies with onshore beachdump, to serious down-the-line conditions with cross-offshore winds and waves coming through in Taranaki style sets. For great cross-off sailing, look for big southerly swells in combination with a very N to NE wind. Launch as usual from western end of bay. Works best around low tide. Wind can be super gusty, and these cross-off conditions are only for experienced sailors. Others will struggle to a) get out through the waves, and b) to actually catch a wave. Good for 3-4 bottom turns and big aerials.

Lyall Bay strong southerlies

How do I get there

Head towards the airport, turn off to Kilbirnie after the Mt Victoria tunnel. When you reach Evans Bay turn right and head down Freyberg Street or Onepu Road to Lyall Bay.

What to look out for

Lyall Bay is a busy beach on nice days, so watch for surfers and swimmers, kayakers, kitesurfers and fishermen. In strong cold southerlies, windsurfers generally have the bay to themselves. If sharing the waves with surfers and swimmers, make sure that you always give them a wide berth and priority to the wave.  Our continued access to this beach depends on maintaining our good relationships with the other beach users.

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