Piha is a volcanic black sand beach renowned for its dangerous rips and is the home of Auckland surfing — the photo at the top of this page is Piha. So large can the seas be and so deadly the rips, that every year a TV reality show is filmed there called “PIha Rescue” which follows the lifeguard crews as they pluck swimmers or anglers swept from the rocks to safety. But, sadly, there are quite often unhappy endings at Piha, the result of one too many beers before hitting the surf, or simply underestimating the power of the currents that take hold here. I’ve never found it an appealing place to swim: dangerous and cold, and I’m amazed it’s so popular. As a place to visit and simply chill out, though, it takes some beating. It’s the most spectacular of Auckland’s west coast beaches and is imbued with a special ambience which is why so many people live here, or holiday, in houses that cling to the bush clad hills that enclose the beach. I seem to find myself visiting Piha mostly in the autumn, winter or spring when we enjoy walks along the beach or on the network of walking trails on the surrounding cliffs. Even when it’s cold there are people in the sea, but if I were to do any surfing at Piha, it would be of this nature. It’s safer! This was taken on the move, almost running after the guy with the kite, with a 17mm-wide lens to add impact to the trail of bubbles leading into the frame . I finished it with Silver Efex Pro as I like the blackness it adds to the volcanic sand and silhouetted surfer.