I'm one of these people who absolutely cannot lay on a beach or play in the surf. I find it boring and a waste of time, particularly when there are places to walk, picnic (beware the ducks!), hike, view and explore.
At the south end of Piha beach is the Tasman Lookout Track. On the walk to the track, keep an eye open for surfers and the Little Blue Penguin. Once at the trailhead, follow along the track and you will find wonderful clifftop views of the beach, including Camel Rock, the Keyhole (a naturally formed passage through Camel Rock), the Blue Pool, and The Gap. The Blue Pool is a natural swimming hole formed when the tide recedes (be warned that you may also be viewing amorous couples looking for a little privacy). The Gap is just that: a gap in the rocks where the waves surge. When the tide is low, it is possible to walk along the beach to the Gap and Blue Pool.
In addition to the beach tracks, other tracks into the Waikatere Ranges are accessed through Piha, as well.
Piha is a small community, with a small post office (open once or twice a week), general store, takeaway bar, surf shop, surf club (with a bar and restaurant), Return Servicemen's Club (like the Legion, with a restaurant), art gallery, and library. The general store is an excellent stop for espresso, fresh, locally baked sweet treats, sandwiches and pies, in addition to (expensive) grocery items.
The only think to do in Piha is to Surf. There's a few places to hire boards - we got ours from the Surf Shop. As we where staying there we got them cheap.
I done body board surfing
I have never surfed before and it was fab. When you walk to the beach loads of people are down there and you soon want to rush and get a board - especially when you see under 10's doing it!