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Schnappers Point break guide

Schnappers Point Surf Guide

Schnappers Point in Nelson is an exposed point break that has quite reliable surf. Spring and Summer provide the best conditions. The best wind direction is from the east southeast. Tends to receive distant groundswells and the ideal swell angle is from the north. Best around mid tide when the tide is falling. Rarely crowded here.

Schnappers Point Spot Info

Icon pointPointIcon  s33.1
Reliability:Todays Sea Temp*:
fairly consistent
21.8°C*ocean temperature recorded from satellite

Surfing Schnappers Point:

The best conditions reported for surf at Schnappers Point occur when a Northwest swell combines with an offshore wind direction from the South-southeast.

Surf Forecasts:

What's the best time of year to surf Schnappers Point (for consistent clean waves)?

augustBest Season: winter
The best time of year for surfing Schnappers Point with consistent clean waves (rideable swell with light / offshore winds) is during Winter and most often the month of August. Clean surfable waves are typically found 24% of the time in August while 38% of the time it tends to be blown out. For the remaining 38% of the time it is considered too small by most surfers but may still be OK for beginners and groms at times.
Surfable waves that hold up well for longer rides in prevailing cross-offshore, offshore or light wind conditions.
blown out
Surfable sized waves that are of poorer quality due to prevailing onshore, cross-onshore or windy conditions (may be preferable for kitesurfing).
too small
Waves usually considered too small for good surf. Some wave-magnet breaks may still work though if conditions are right (on occasion).

Explore Schnappers Point Location Map

Interactive Schnappers Point surf break location map. View information about nearby surf breaks, their wave consistency and rating compared to other spots in the region. Current swell conditions from local buoys are shown along with live wind speed and direction from nearby weather stations. Click icons on the map for more detail. The closest passenger airport to Schnappers Point is Nelson Airport (NSN) in New Zealand, 18 km (11 miles) away (directly). The second nearest airport to Schnappers Point is Woodbourne Airport (BHE), also in New Zealand, 56 km (35 miles) away.

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Icon legend buoysLive Wave Height (m)
Icon legend windLive Wind Speed (km/h)
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Please note that some surf spot locations are approximate to protect their exact location while others are not shown at close zoom level.
Schnappers Point Surf Forecasts:
Todays Surf Summary
Tuesday, 7 February 2023, 15:58 Local Time
Tuesday 07Wed
Wave (m)
Period (s) 8 6 5 5
Wind (km/h)
Wind State cross-
cross cross-

Swell History at Schnappers Point

Surf stats for Schnappers Point, see the swell variation by month or season on the history page here.

Wind History at Schnappers Point

Wind stats for Schnappers Point, see the variation in direction and stength by month or season on the history page here.

Schnappers Point Reviews:

Interactive Porthcawl Point location map. View nearby buoy information, live wind conditions and surrounding roads, paths and locations to help find new breaks. Click the buoys or wind icon to view more information.

Based on 8 votes.
  • Overall:Icon  s33.1
  • Quality on a good day:Icon  s43.5
  • Consistency of Surf:Icon  s32.8
  • Difficulty Level:Icon  s33.1
  • Wind and Kite Surfing:Icon  s22.3
  • Crowds:Icon  s32.9
  • ...

See all 18 ratings

Impartial reviews submitted by Surf-Forecast users.
Icon avatar
Rob Davies from New Zealand
“Schnapper (Snapper) point is by far the most popular break in the Nelson district.

It is located out on the boulder bank, just past the oxidation ponds. It's a nicer setting than it sounds and the views over to the often snow-covered Tasman Mountain is spectacular.

Where the dirt road first reaches the sea you will get a nice view of the swell. Schnappers is usually a but bigger than here so if it looks like there is any swell at all, keep going.

When it is on, it can get crowded by Nelson locals, especially at weekends, but the atmosphere is friendly and there are usually enough waves to go round. The main wave is a steep right hander that can provide makeable hollow sections. There is a left too and although this is described as a close-out in some surf guides, I have found it very good at times with much less competition for waves than the right. The paddle out (and back in) over slippery boulders can be a challenge if you are not wearing boots and often you have to work against the current to stay in position.

Although the Nelson region doesn't receive a lot of swell it would be a mistake for traveling surfers to dismiss it completely because the quality of waves can be excellent and it is certainly one of New Zealand's best towns. Occasionally, when the famous Kaikora coast is either flat or onshore, the Nelson area, 4 hours drive away, is going off.

The reason visiting surfers generally overlooked it is that NW swells are uncommon and usually they are accompanied by onshore winds. Surfing in Nelson usually involves picking the brief window when the wind has dropped but the locally generated swell is still running. Locals get this right and are on it very quickly whereas the chances of passing through Nelson and finding good waves is pretty slim.

It doesn't usually last more than a couple of days, often just a few hours. The much more common SW swells in the Tasman that are so good reliable Taranaki pass Nelson by, on the other side of distant Farewell Spit so all in all there is just a tiny window of swell directions that can get in here; a little better along the coast at Whangamoa.

The exception to the rule that you only get to surf fading windswells is when a sub-tropical depression drops into the Tasman and sends a rare NW groundswell directly into Tasman Bay. When that happens all kinds of weird and wonderful spots start to fire and places like Schnapper, The Cut and Cable Bay approach the quality of New Zealand's more famous locations.”

Other Nearby Breaks Closest To:

Discover surf breaks near Schnappers Point. Click below to view there surf guides.

Wave Buoys Nearest To Schnappers Point: