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Piha Pro: A Spectator’s Guide

Here’s the cheat sheet on how you can best soak up the atmosphere of the Corona Piha Pro when it rolls into Piha from March 15-22.

Firstly, there is a Piha Pro Junior that takes place on March 14 for the men and women. It’s stop number 7 on the WSL Junior Tour and has 1000 points on offer. You can bet there will be a heap of Aussies attending. A great chance for our best groms to shine.

Secondly, you don’t want to miss Sunday, March 15. That’s the day the trials will take place and two male and two female surfers from New Zealand will battle to earn a start into the Piha Pro. It’s the very cream of New Zealand’s surfers with legends like Maz Quinn easing out of retirement for the occasion. It’s going to be epic and it will give four Kiwis a real boost into the 2020 WSL season.

The Sunday hasn’t been promoted too hard, but we reckon it’s one not to be missed. Here’s a list of the surfers who got the nod for the trials.

Local surfer Liv Haysom, will be using every scrap of local knowledge in the trials come March 15. Photo: Derek Morrison

Now for the main event, which runs March 16-22. It’s a QS10,000 and that means every single pro will be aiming to bag as many of those points as possible. With Manly’s QS10,000 taking place a week earlier to bookend a solid run of Australian QS events, every Australasian surfer worth their salt will be in prime form. Throw Kelly Slater and Carissa Moore into the mix and the stage is set for some incredible surfing at Piha.

We checked the status of the banks at Piha at the start of February and there is certainly enough sand to hold some fast, sectioning lefts off the main bar. There is a dependable soft right peeling into the cove as well and it breaks when everything else is washed out. A wedgey peak at the north end is also in good shape. But our pick would be the main Piha Bar … let’s hope the stars align for that to come to life.

Piha is one of New Zealand’s quintessential sleepy surf villages. Photo: Derek Morrison
Getting There

Now here’s the thing. Piha is a very small village. There is one road in and it’s windy and prone to accidents. And there is very limited parking space within Piha itself. The organisers are addressing this by issuing vehicle permits. Spectators will only be able to enter Piha during the period of the Corona Piha Pro (16-22 March) with a Vehicle Permit issued for the relevant date. Vehicle Permits for the Corona Piha Pro can be purchased here and will cost you $20 per day per vehicle.

Piha residents will be given Resident Vehicle Access Passes and Guest Passes to help ensure smooth and constant access for them throughout the seven days of the event.

There will be a managed access point on Piha Road near the Karekare turn-off. Once through this point, vehicles will be directed to their specific parking area. Managing access to Piha will help reduce the chances of congestion and ensure people can get into Piha more efficiently. Any vehicles without the required access will not be permitted entry.

Organisers recommend that people carpool as much as possible – Vehicle Permits will be charged per vehicle, not per person. Access to the beach is free of charge.

Parking space in Piha is limited – once parking allocations in Piha have been sold out, overflow Park-and-Ride options will be activated from Glen Eden.

Only one road into Piha on Auckland’s West Coast. Photo: Derek Morrison
What To Know On Event Days

The Corona Piha Pro is a sustainable event and that means single use plastics are banned. Bring your reusable drink bottles and you will be able to fill up from supplied water tanks and keep cups for any hot drinks during the event.

Please minimise your rubbish at the event and recycle in appropriate bins. This is a fire-ban area. No fireworks or open fires please. The council parks and beaches are smoke-free and the event is smoke-free. No dogs are permitted on the event site. Please keep off sand dunes at all times to protect the dune biodiversity.

The area has been affected by kauri dieback disease so it is important to clean soil off your footwear and other gear every time you enter or leave an area with native trees, and at every cleaning station. To read more on information about restrictions in the region, including details about the protection of native trees and closed tracks click here.

Act with caution and sensitivity around the wildlife such as the Grey-face Petrels, Dotterels, Tui, Kereru, Fantails and Blue Penguins. Piha is often frequented by Māui dolphins, which are an endangered species. We ask that if you see a Māui dolphin, please report it to the event organisers and to the Department of Conservation by calling 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

There is no petrol station in Piha so fill up the tank before you hit the road. There are no public transport options to Piha.

Bring a pair of shoes because Piha’s famous black sand can get hot enough to burn flesh.

Please note that drones, single-use plastics and BYO alcohol are prohibited at the event.

Watch that black sand … it burns. Photo: Derek Morrison
Can’t Make It?

The Corona Piha Pro will be shown live on Sky Sport and the Sky Sport Now app in New Zealand.

Key Dates

March 14: Piha Pro Junior Men’s and Women’s JUN 1000
March 15: Piha Pro Trials Men’s and Women’s (top two earn wildcards to main event)
March 16-22: The Corona Piha Pro

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