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Punakaiki water temperature
Punakaiki ratings
Quality on a good day: 5.0
Consistency of Surf: 4.0
Difficulty Level: 3.0
Wind and Kite Surfing: 1.0
Crowds: 4.5

Overall: 3.3

See all 18 ratings

Based on 2 votes. Vote


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Punakaiki Water Temperature and Wetsuit Guide

(West Coast South Island, New Zealand)

Today's Punakaiki sea temperature is 19.4 °C.

Statistics for 22 Jan (1981–2005) – mean: 17.5 °C, range: 15.8 °C to 19.9 °C

Sunny with pleasantly warm air temperatures (feeling like 21 °C once we account for wind), yet at 19 °C the sea remains several degrees colder than the air at Punakaiki. The majority of surfers will need a spring wetsuit though a summer suit or even a shorty may suffice for a short session.

New Zealand Sea Water Temperature

Map of current New Zealand
Surface Water Temperatures
based on measurements from oceanographic satellites
New Zealand Water Temperature Anomaly

Map of current New Zealand
Sea Water Temperature Anomalies

(compared with long term averages
at this time of year)

(click thumbnails to expand)

Below is a graph of Historical Sea Surface Temperature for Punakaiki. This has been derived from analysis of two decades of oceanographic satellite measurements of nearby open water. We have calculated the average water temperature variation around the year as well as the extremes that have been observed on each date.

Punakaiki Water Temperature Graph

All of the graphs for the surf breaks presented on Surf-Forecast.com are on the same scale to enable comparison between locations around the world.

Punakaiki sea temperatures peak in the range 16 to 20°C (61 to 68°F) on around the 8th of February and are at their lowest on about the 5th of August, in the range 12 to 14°C (54 to 57°F). The maximum Punakaiki sea temperatures in early to mid February require something like a 3/2mm fully sealed wetsuit. The lowest sea temperatures at Punakaiki at the beginning of August are ideally suited to a 4/3mm wetsuit + 3mm boots, although a 5/3mm wetsuit may be preferable for longer sessions and cold windy days.

Actual sea surface water temperatures close to shore at Punakaiki can vary by several degrees compared with these open water averages. This is especially true after heavy rain, close to river mouths or after long periods of strong offshore winds. Offshore winds cause colder deep water to replace surface water that has been warmed by the sun. Air temperature, wind-chill and sunshine should also be considered before deciding on the kind of wetsuit needed to stay warm when surfing at Punakaiki. Refer to our detailed weather forecasts for this information.