Piha is New Zealand's most famous surf beach. Situated on the west coast of the North Island, 40 kms from the city of Auckland, this black iron-sand beach has a reputation for awesome surf which rolls in over the Tasman Sea. When Uncle Toby's Iron Man contest was held at Piha in 1997, canoes were snapped in two and they've never come back. It can be moody, misty and mysterious, wild, wet and wind-swept. The power goes off, the phone lines come down, sometimes the road in (and out) gets blocked. Living here is not for the faint-hearted. Piha was the birthplace of malibu board riding in New Zealand, introduced by two Californian lifeguards in 1956. The first surf boat race held in New Zealand was at Piha in the 1930s. Piha has rips and currents and is very unforgiving of the foolhardy so it's important to only swim in areas patrolled by surf clubs.