When a southerly swell curls into Lyall Bay, surfers flock to the waves.
“It’s just a good spot, so easy to access from the city – you can come out for a surf then go back to work,” one told Newshub.
“On a good day there’s some good sets and some good waves and it’s fun,” another added.
The surf is particularly good at the airport end of the bay – known as the corner – as the runway and breakwater create an ideal surf break.
“The airport end of Lyall Bay is Wellington’s best and most consistent surf break, thousands of people enjoy surfing it,” said Wellington Boardriders Club spokesperson James Whitaker.
But that may soon change as Wellington Airport looks to rebuild its old seawall defences. And it admits that could impact the quality of the waves.
“If it’s not done properly it could have a negative impact,” Whitaker said.
Surfers at the corner are worried.
“We don’t want to lose a really good break and that’ll impact the surfing community that’s been here for years, we don’t like it at all,” one said.
“I’d be pretty upset if it’s going to impact the waves, this is such an amazing natural spot,” another added.
Wellington Airport says the seawall project is separate to its plans to extend the airport runway, which it’s been trying to do for years but has been hit with numerous setbacks and legal challenges.
The airport is researching what impact the seawall project could have on the waves, and is working with the Wellington Boardriders Club to try and find a solution.
“It’s really early days but we have already met with the airport and we’re really pleased that they’re committed to ensuring there’s no negative effects for anyone,” Whitaker said.
Wellington Airport aims to start construction next year.