Top 5 places to Barefoot in New Zealand
In the inaugural BarefooterHQ survey we asked Footers from around New Zealand to give us their TOP 5 locations to Barefoot. New Zealand is made up of three main islands: the North Island, the South Island and Stewart Island, the most southerly of the three islands. All of the Top 5 locations are found in the North Island of New Zealand.
The results were relatively clear cut at the conclusion of the survey with a mixture of both Private and Public Lakes featuring at the top of the leaderboard, the majority of which have at one time or other been used for Barefoot tournaments. That may say more about the majority of survey respondents being tournament skiers as opposed to skiers with a more recreational focus. We had a tie for 3rd place and as a result there is no fourth place in this Top 5.
5. Forest Lakes
Forest Lakes as it is commonly known or Lake Waitawa to be specific comes in at Number 5 on our list. Located just on the south side of the Kapiti Coast/Horowhenua district border, Forest Lakes were for many years the destination for Barefooters in the region. Particularly sheltered from southerly winds and with dual skiable arms, this lake offers options. Access is semi-private, by arrangement only.
3(equal). Lake Ohakuri
Lake Ohakuri and Orakei Korako, (Māori for “The Place of Adorning”) are the first of the Hydro dam lakes on the Waikato River in the central North Island. This Lake has a number of varied aspects to it: the narrow reaches near its origins at Lake Taupo, the thermal areas of Orakei Korako and Hot Water Beach, and the Whirinaki arm which is accessed from the main body of the lake via a picturesque gorge. So many great spots, views, and extras are on offer at Lake Ohakuri.
3(equal). Lake Karapiro
Further downstream on the Waikato River is another hydro dam lake that was voted into our Top 5. Lake Karapiro is 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-east of the city of Hamilton in the North Island of New Zealand. Karapiro has long been a favourite for Barefooters, primarily at the southern end of this lake some 10-12 kilometres upstream from the dam centred around the Horahora domain. Karapiro is characterised by a mix of long reaches along banks of farmland pastures, recreational areas, and sheer cliff faces.
2. Mine Lake
Mine Lake, so named for its former use as a mine before it was flooded with crystal clear water, is an absolutely stunning watersport playground. Privately owned, the allure of Mine Lake is heightened by its almost surreal backdrop of hills and pine forest that cascade down to the water’s edge. A superb location, consistently flat water conditions, and fantastic hosts make footing at Mine Lake an enviable and sought after experience.
1. Lake Inspiration
Located in Otaki, Lake Inspiration is aptly named. Also privately owned, our No.1 voted location in our Top 5 places to Barefoot in New Zealand is a purpose built Barefoot Waterskiing lake. Directionally aligned to thwart all wind directions bar the occasional southerly, Lake Inspiration provides fantastic footing conditions the majority of the time. The Lake is around 700 metres in length with a depth of 2 metres and a gradient at its edge designed to reduce the backwash of both the boat and skier wake and to provide a quick settling of the water. Earthworks during the Lake’s design and excavation have formed a raised platform around the lake which proves to be fantastic for both viewing and building platform locations as well as having the effect of sheltering this lake even further. With a relatively shallow depth Lake Inspiration warms up incredibly quickly once the spring and summer temperatures begin to climb.
Host to the World Barefoot Championships in 2010 and a number of Wellington Regional and National tournaments, Lake Inspiration was a decisive winner in our inaugural survey. Clearly the mix of good conditions, great memories and again, fantastic hosts, have set the bar high in the minds of our Barefooting peers in New Zealand. Well done Lake Inspiration and it’s owners.