ids learn body boarding | bodyboarding port waikato

Top tips for Teaching Kids to Bodyboard at Port Waikato

Getting started with bodyboarding in Port Waikato: from little ones to adults!

Port Waikato is a picturesque Kiwi coastal  town and perfect for families seeking outdoor adventures. Above all, Port Waikato is known for its long sandy beach and consistent waves. So, it’s an ideal spot to learn bodyboarding (or boogie boarding as it’s also known.) whether you’re a kid or an adult! As a family, everyone can get on a boogie board as long as they know how to swim! Furthermore, it’s an easy water sport that builds water confidence, improves balance, and creates lasting memories. Needless to say, it’s also a stepping stone to surfing!

It’s best to have a few tips up your sleeve when teaching kids to bodyboard. At Port Waikato, we always start by pointing out the safe places to swim so that kid’s learn to swim between the flags. Start on the beach helping them orientate where they are by spotting shore markers to see from the waves. For instance, pointing out the lifeguards and any obstacles is a good practice.

Generally, teaching kids on a holiday or weekend away is a good idea because it gives them a couple of days to build their skills. So, check-in to Port Waikato Holiday Park for a few days to allow little ones to perfect their technique. Also, being close to Sunset Beach, it’s easy to pop back to shore for a rest too! 

Over the years, you’ll find they may want to expand their horizons to surfing or kitesurfing!

learn to Bodyboard Port waikato surf | Teach kids bodyboarding
Port Waikato is a wonderful place to get little ones started on boggie boards.

Top tip for teaching kids bodyboarding in NZ – be prepared!

Being prepared means gearing up well. Make sure your kids have the proper boogie boarding set up before hitting the waves. 

Here’s what kids need for bodyboarding at Port Waikato

  • Bodyboard: Choose a bodyboard that suits your child’s size and skill level. Look for one with a leash attached to keep the board close. Start with something simple and inexpensive, perhaps from The Warehouse. However, if you’re looking for something middle of the range, we like the selection from Torpedo7.
  • Fins: Fins provide extra propulsion and control in the water while boogie boarding in the surf at Port Waikato.
  • Wetsuit / Rashsuit: Ensure your kids stay comfortable by wearing a wetsuit or rashguard, depending on the water temperature. 
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and provide your kids with waterproof UV-protective rashguards or hats. Oftentimes, overseas visitors underestimate burn times in NZ, which are quicker than abroad. So a long-sleeved rash suit or swimsuit is best for kids with delicate skin. If you’ve come from overseas, Sunsmart NZ has good guidelines for safety in the NZ sun!

Safety First: always be in the water with your tamariki (kids) while they bodyboard

Safety is a top priority when introducing kids to any water activity. Keep these safety measures in mind when starting to teach kids bodyboarding:

  • Choose a safe area: Pick a section of the beach with smaller waves and minimal currents. Avoid areas with rocks or strong undertows. Luckily, Sunset Beach marks this out with the presence of Lifesavers, who set up flags.
  • Supervision: Always watch your children closely while they’re in the water. Ensure they understand the importance of staying within sight and calling for help if needed. Stay as close as you can while they get the hang of it. Once kids become independent on their board, it’s time to board yourself alongside them!
  • Swim and wave knowledge: Teach your kids the importance of swimming parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current and how to identify and avoid hazardous waves.

Start with the Boogie Boarding Basics when teaching kids:

Begin by teaching simple bodyboarding techniques to build kids’ confidence gradually:

  • Proper Positioning: Teach your kids to lie on the boogie board with their chests in the centre and their arms extended towards the front.
  • Paddling: Demonstrate how to paddle with their arms and kick with their fins to catch small waves.
  • Timing and Balance: Show them how to time their paddle to catch the wave and maintain balance on the board.
  • Help them by pushing them on top of the waves in the shallows while they get a feel for it. Stay close and keep a flow of high fives to celebrate each ride!

3 Steps to Riding the Waves:

Once your kids feel comfortable with the bodyboarding basics, it’s time to learn ride the waves at Port Waikato:

  • Catching Waves: Encourage your kids to paddle towards an approaching wave and try to catch it just as it starts to break.
  • Riding the Wave: Instruct kids to shift their weight towards the front of the board to maintain stability and steer by leaning and shifting their body weight.
  • Falling and Safety: Remember to teach children to fall away from the boogie board to avoid injuries and protect their heads and necks.

Have fun, practice, and learn to Boogie Board during your stay at Port Waikato Holiday Park!

Learning to bodyboard takes practice, and confidence grows over time. Consider staying at Port Waikato Holiday Park for a few days to allow your kids to perfect their technique. Our holiday park offers a comfortable and convenient base for your family to enjoy the beach and practice bodyboarding and bodysurfing. Take advantage of the nearby beach access, and spend ample time in the water honing your skills. Naturally, the more practice kids get in the surf, the more confident they will become in riding the waves and mastering the art of bodyboarding.

However, downtime matters too. Shorter sessions are a good way to start, so ask us about the tides and when the best time of day will be to hit the beach on the day and plan other activities around your sessions in the water. Fortunately, plenty of other activities in the area allow for a break from the surf. Check out the local activities and Annual Events.

Ready to kickstart a lifetime of bodyboarding fun for your whānau at Port Waikato?

Teaching your kids to bodyboard at Port Waikato opens up a world of adventure and fun. By following these steps, emphasizing safety, and taking advantage of the accessible local accommodation, your family will have a whale of a time!

PS. Forgot your boogie board? Don’t worry; we have some for sale at the Port Waikato Holiday Park reception shop.

Bodyboarding Port Waikato | Teach kids to bodyboard NZ
Future bodyboarders in surf NZs playground
surfing port waiakto west coast.jpg

Surfing Port Waikato: A Hidden Gem on New Zealand’s West Coast

When it comes to world-class surf spots on New Zealand’s black sand west coast, Port Waikato is a must-add to any surfer’s itinerary. As James, an avid surfer from Sydney, shares, “Port Waikato’s consistent waves and diverse breaks make it an absolute dream for surfers looking for a challenge. It’s definitely a spot that shouldn’t be missed.” Michelle, a seasoned surfer from Bali, agrees: “I’ve travelled to many surf destinations, but Port Waikato’s pristine and secluded atmosphere truly sets it apart. It’s a hidden gem that provides a serene and authentic surfing experience.” Read More “Surfing Port Waikato: A Hidden Gem on New Zealand’s West Coast”

Escape to Eden by Jimmy James Kouratoras | Photo credit Jimmy James Kouratoras | Port Waikato art | What lies beneath

What Lies Beneath: Art, Artists, & Artistry in Port Waikato

Port Waikato’s most underrated feature is arguably its impressive art scene.

A tapestry of sun, sea, and sand, Port Waikato, New Zealand holds a beguiling charm for visitors. But while it is easy to get overwhelmed by its rugged natural beauty and lose oneself in the flurry of fun, this sun-soaked town has several other surprises up its sleeve. One of these is the place’s throbbing and thriving art scene. If you are an admirer of art or
even a bit of an artist yourself, Port Waikato has plenty to have you engaged and enthralled. Read More “What Lies Beneath: Art, Artists, & Artistry in Port Waikato”

Five Fascinating Natural Marvels in and around Port Waikato | Sunset Beach

Five Fascinating Natural Marvels in & around Port Waikato You Can’t Miss!

Nature can work magic and there’s no better place to witness its splendours than Port Waikato and its vicinity. Get set for an amazing road trip through the Waikato, south to Rotorua.

A description of specific natural wonders in Port Waikato – a place already brimming with so much beauty – might seem redundant. It is truly easy to find beauty in this beach town no matter where you look. It is here that the Waikato River ends its meandering journey, meeting and merging into the vast Tasman Sea. The place is known for its black sand beaches, amazing sunsets, sand dunes, hillocks, and farmlands. And of course that quaint air of timelessness that tops it all up. And yet, there’s more.  Here are four mesmerizing nature-made treasures in and around Port Waikato that deserve a special mention.

The Magestic Sunset Beach

This stunning black beach is as natural as it gets. Wild, rugged and untouched, the 7.19 km-long beach is Port Waikato’s best-loved swimming, surfing, and fishing destination. Dappled with rocks at places, Sunset Beach wears a look of quiet calm that is accentuated by the pristine, sparkling waters. You could saunter about, or drive along the beach at low tide and over the endless dunes. While a great place for solo adventurers and families with kids alike, the safest place to swim is between the flags in front of the award-winning Surf Lifesaving Club.  A short wander from the Port Waikato Holiday Park Accommodation, it’s the perfect place to stop for the night.

Petr Vysohlid - Port Waikato Holiday Park

Nikau Cave & Café

The Nikau Cave is an entirely natural limestone cave sculpted by geological processes. With no electric lights, handrails, or concrete paths, the place presents a subterranean caving adventure like no other. Its unique limestone landscape is set apart by real stalactites, stalagmites, giant pillars, weathered rocks, and a stream bed you can walk across. Like a star-spangled sky, the swarm of glow-worms that twinkles in the main cavern may well be considered the high point of the experience. The on-site café, ensconced below verdant hills dotted with limestone rocks, is a great place to stop by for some fresh food and conversation following your trip to the cave. 
nikau caves glow worms | local attractions waikato NZ

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland

Often cited as among the most surreal places on earth, the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is every kernel worth its name. Fashioned by thousands of years of natural activity, New Zealand’s most spectacular geothermal attraction is marked by unique volcanic features which includes naturally colourful hot and cold springs, enormous volcanic craters, enchanting sinter terrace formations, steaming ground, spitting and spurting mud pools, and of course the fantastical Champagne Pool. Visitors may choose one or all three of the connected trails. The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a 35-minute drive from Rotorua Airport and a 40-minute drive from Taupo.

Waiotapu Thermal reserve | Roadtrip from Port Waikato to Rotorua
Discover the Waiotapu Thermal Pools as part of your roadtrip frrom Port Waikato to Rotorua

Road trip via Huka Falls to Taupo

The Huka (Maori word for ‘foam’) Falls result from a unique natural phenomenon in which the great Waikato River passes through a narrow 15-metre gorge and undergoes a dramatic cliff drop. Water roars and rumbles through the chasm every moment, furiously cascading down to form the limpid, aquamarine pool 11 metres below. You will find plenty of photo opportunities and breathtaking views in and around the place – there’s a pedestrian bridge right at the top of the falls and several other vantage points. There is adequate car parking space nearby; Huka Falls is a mere 10-minute drive by car from the beautiful lake town of Taupo.

Huka Falls New Zealand | Roadtrip from Port Waikato to Rotorua
The majestic Huka Falls is a highlight on any New Zealand Roadtrip.

Invite Yourself to Port Waikato!

Whether you are a solo traveller looking to escape the daily grind, or a family seeking a spot where the kids can have fun, Port Waikato has something in store for everyone! Equidistant from both Auckland and Hamilton – and only one hour from the Auckland International Airport – Port Waikato is super-easy to get to! From Sunset beach to the glittering splendour of the Nikau Caves, you’re in for a treat as you road trip through the Waikato to Rotorua.

Book your stay at the lovely Port Waikato Holiday Park and get ready to explore these gorgeous gifts of nature! Learn more about our local attractions to time your trip around special events.

Sand dunes Port waikato bay NZ
Nothing beats the peace of a dunes walk at Port Waikato
Itinerary to the Dunes from Auckland_Dunes Walk Port Waikato

Itinerary to the Dunes from Auckland

Looking for a perfect weekend escape from the city where you can get back to nature? You’ll find in in Port Waikato!

Port Waikato is a small but perfectly formed coastal town located about an hour and fifteen minutes drive from Auckland with a similar distance from Hamilton. Off the beaten track, the town is a hidden gem and a popular destination for nature lovers, thanks to its beautiful sand dunes, long sandy beach, and amazing wildlife. 


contact info

Port Waikato Holiday Park:
115B Maunsell Road
Port Waikato RD5
Tuakau 2695
New Zealand

+64 9 232 9857

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