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New Plymouth is the main town within the province of Taranaki. Situated on the West Coast of the North Island (facing Australia) and is exposed to the Tasman Sea. Surfing was started by the visit of travelling California surfers Bing Copeland and Rick Stoner in the late 1950's. The lack of surfboards throughout New Zealand meant the sport was slow to take off and was mainly the domain of the very active Surf Life Saving Clubs. In 1964 the 1st surfboard factory was established and is still operating today. The Cape of Taranaki proved to be ideal in offering a large variety of wave options in most weather conditions. Although chilly during the winter/spring months of June to November, these months are often the largest for wave size. December through to May are ideal with the water temp fluctuating between 17-21 degrees Celsius. 

The national governing body was headquartered in New Plymouth from 1980 through to 1990 and is responsible for much of today's systems.

There are 5 Boardrider Clubs within the region of Taranaki and the New Plymouth Surfriders Club is considered the major club. In 2006 Surfing Taranaki was formed to “position surfing as a leading sporting, recreational and cultural pursuit for all in Taranaki by fostering and developing members, at all levels through Surfing Taranaki’s competitions, programs, major events, affiliated clubs, and through schools.”