The Great Easter Excursion wrap up.

The Great Easter Excursion was the last planned trip to Great Barrier Island for OXS over the “Summer season”.

You may have noticed the quotation marks around the words “Summer season”. This is because of the four trips we have been on since late November, have all had the gloss knocked off them by the weather. This trip was no different and relied on the ferry from Sealink to get to the small (or Great?) island off Aucklands North Eastern coast.

Now the original dates set were from Tuesday the 3rd – Thursday the 12th of April. Myself and Kate Rattrie were set to meet up with my friend of 20+ years, Andy Wards. Thanks to a 5m+ swell and gale force onshores, it was hardly a surprise that we didn’t land on the island until late on Good Friday after a very, very bumpy and seasick fuelled trip. Seasickness doesn’t affect myself but the same can’t be Said for Kate, half the people on the boat and even one dog!

After the first night spent in a rail fort we were straight into it. The first day was beach day. I myself know the island so the day was spent in and around the water checking out all the amazing spots the island has to offer. The next day it was time to tackle Mt Hobson, The Barriers tallest peak of 622m. Starting at sea level we ripped this back in 4 hours return (not bad when the sign where we parked said 4 hours one way). A chill time at the beach was in order for the afternoon.

Easter Monday kicked off the start of the whole purpose of the trip, to spread skimboarding. Andy and Kate were on the early afternoon ferry back home so I was left to fend for myself. I had arranged previously to do some work with the Youth Centre on the island which involved donating boards, skim coaching, stoke spreading and to further the sport to a place which doesn’t usually see much of it. On an island with a local population of approx 850 people, having 6 – 10 stoked kids for three hours a day, three days running (no pun intended), was a huge blast for me. We started off picking some boards and tractioning them up. All pretty easy except for two of the girls not being able to decide who would do the horse and who would do the unicorn!

We spent the time between Tryphena and Medlands. Located on opposite sides of the island from each other the set up was perfect. The stream located right next to the campground at Medlands is great. No shells, hard sand and you can skim it on all tides plus there is the vast shoreline skim the beach offers. Medlands also has some decent wave skim on a high tide. Tryphena is a place I could skim every day. Long, shell free pools stretch everywhere and vary in depth, position and angle (does a flatland skimboarder need anything more?) Setting up rails for first time skimboarders is always a bit touch and go. 3-4 of the kids tackled them each day and with no blood or injuries I chalked this down as a success.

The rest of my time on the island was spent in or around the water, mainly checking for wave skim. Due to the large swell running the whole time most spots were a bit washed out. A smaller swell should see Medlands, Kaitoke and Awana all fire!

Having skimmed myself stupid for almost a week it was time to head home. Thanks to a fuel truck dropping off the loading ramp in Auckland it was a great sight to see coming into the bay, although four hours late. Having picked up Sun Sea Surf as a board stockist, meeting some great kids and people along the way, I truly realised this is what OXS is here to do.

A special thanks must go to those who came along, helped organise and supported the trip. My support for the island will continue so keep your eyes peeled so some stoked groms if you’re ever planning a trip there.


Full album is here.


“That’s the island!”

1 Comment

  1. Awesome Fun had by all, thanks Sam for your time & generosity. The kids had a blast & are keen for more – those boards will be getting plenty of use over Summer thats for sure & the Barrier has discovered another sport that can take advantage of its stunning natural playgrounds!!! See you next time. Cheers Vicky Nathan & the Island Youth

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