Kitesurf at Christchurch Estuary

Ideal for beginner and freestyle kitesurfers

  • Overview
  • Good to know
  • Getting there

Overview

Christchurch estuary forms where both the River Avon and River Heathcote meet the Pacific Ocean. The triangular-shaped estuary is the largest semi-enclosed estuary in Canterbury, and its small ocean inlet forms the divide between the Brighton ‘Spit’ (Peninsula) and Sumner Town. This spot is perfect for riders of all levels thanks to its flat to choppy water; the estuary is very tidal and empties on the low tide. It is possible to kite through the high tide and riders can kite from 2 hours before high tide to 3 hours after high tide with enough water depth. While you’re waiting for the tide to rise, there’s plenty to do in Christchurch and the surrounding area. Since the earthquakes, the city is reinventing itself, and you’ll not be short of things to do or see. Wander around and check out the city in transition with its many fun and creative projects like the Re:START Mall, made from the many shipping containers and home to local businesses, or the Cardboard Cathedral, temporary house of prayer while Christchurch ponders how to ‘pick up the pieces’ of its much loved iconic gothic church. Be sure to take a look at New Zealand’s incredible history at the Christchurch Museum and the Botanical Gardens of Hagley Park; Christchurch is a very easy city to navigate, and public transport in and out of the city is cheap and relatively efficient.

Good to know

VISAS: Check your passport requirements on the NZ immigration website. UK passport holders allowed 6months without a visa. France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, and the USA allowed three months without a visa. CURRENCY: NZD $ New Zealand Dollar PRICES: Beer: $8 (€4.78) Food: Lunch $12-30 (€7-18) Accommodation: $30-250 (€17-150) Kite Lessons: 6H private $600 (€358) Kite Gear rental: Supervised rental $75 per hour (€45) LANGUAGE: English INTERNET: Recommended to get Local SIM card. Many cafes and hostels have wifi TRAVEL ADVICE: For anyone traveling and working digitally, the New Brighton Library offers a good service and has fantastic views over New Brighton Beach. You'll be able to do your work and be the first to know when the wind picks up for a session. For riders wanting more than flat water, New Brighton and Sumner beaches can be found either side of the estuary mouth and offer great conditions for wave riders. Additionally, New Brighton Beach offers several kilometres of flat sandy beach for kite buggy riders to do speed runs along.

Getting there

NEAREST TOWN: Christchurch & Sumner NEAREST CITY: Christchurch NEAREST AIRPORT: Christchurch Airport Busses and taxis are readily available from the airport to wherever you are staying around the city of Christchurch. For anyone wanting to venture further than Christchurch during their stay, there are lots of camper van rental companies. It is also possible to do cheap camper van relocations if moving between cities, especially if moving between Christchurch and Auckland in the North Island. GETTING AROUND: - Getting to the spot will require a car. The estuary can be accessed by driving southeast on Linwood Avenue towards Humphrys Drive. On the bend, before the road meets the estuary, there is a left turn which will take you into the carpark. The kitespot has been marked on google maps by the Canterbury Windsports Association.

  • Beach
  • Wind
  • Rules/Hazards

Beach

The kite set-up and launch areas are spacious grassy fields. The shoreline is pebbles with occasional driftwood. The main launch area is directly north of the car park. Once you have launched from here, you have to be able to ride upwind. Beginners and students taking lessons can walk for 5 minutes around the north side of the estuary to the second set up and launch area, Sandy Point, which provides plenty of riding space for those not confident in their ability to ride upwind. The estuary is muddy bottomed but caution should be taken in the area directly in front of the main road and carpark; broken glass can sometimes be found in the shallow water. AMENITIES: Kite School, Gear Rental, Kite Shop, Kite/Gear Repair, Toilets, Parking, Accommodation.

Wind

The estuary provides excellent conditions for riders of all levels with flat water that is waist-deep across the majority of the bay with a deeper channel closer to Sumner town on the south side. This spot works best throughout the New Zealand spring and summer months (October to March) and works on Easterly winds (NE-SE), which is the prevailing direction throughout the main season. Thanks to the land formation around the estuary, the wind is accelerating slightly and is usually around 5knots stronger in the bay than at the surrounding beaches. Wind in the estuary often blows around 15-25knots, 3-5 days of the week. You’ll be needing your 9m and 12 kites, although it’s not uncommon to need a 7m on some weeks. WIND DIRECTIONS: NE, E, SE, WINDIEST MONTHS: High Season - November December, January Mid Season - October, February, March.

Rules/Hazards

No kiting on low tide. Kiting starts 2 hours before high tide and stops 3hours after. If you’re not confident in staying upwind, launch 500m upwind at Sandy Point. - No riding within 3 x line lengths of the road, or lessons being conducted at Sandy Point. - No jumping or tricks within 3 x line lengths of the shore. - Buoys mark water hazards, keep clear at lower tides. - Don't walk through the car park with your kite up. Shoes are recommended due to shells, broken glass etc. and take care of grassy launch areas when the ground is wet. *If you need kite related service like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance please contact with the local kite centre or camp. ** We always recommend seeking additional knowledge about the spot from local kite school and qualified instructors locally.

Info

Rider Level:
beginner, intermediate, advanced
Discipline:
freeride, landboarding, foiling
Spot Type:
Flat to choppy water; Estuary
Launch area:
Grass
Tidal:
yes
Windiest Months:
Jan, Feb, Mar, Oct, Nov, Dec

How it measures up

RATED
9
Beginner Friendly
Wind quality
Non-kiting activities
Nightlife
COSTS

    Around Christchurch Estuary

    Things to do

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    The reviews say it all

    spot reviews

    9

    Awesome flat water spot!

    Christchurch Estuary, New Zealand

    This is a great flat water spot that is ideal for riders of all levels. It's very tidal so you need to check the tides before heading to the spot as you can't ride on low tide. There is loads of parking space in the carpark and the launch area is a field with lots of space. The locals are a friendly bunch :)

    Jen Bell-Taylor
    Camber Sands
    5 months ago