TRAVEL – Pacific Travel Report

It could be said that surfing is defined the action of the Pacific Islands for the past 100+ years. The Duke, Waikiki beach boys and longboard days at Ala Moana set the tone. Today surreal reefs like Pipeline on the North Shore and Teahupooin Tahiti continue to raise the performance bar. Thinking about staying in paradise for awhile? Say aloha to Surfer’s Travel Report surf maps and information.

Although many additional spots have been identified on Kauai in recent years, there is not the abundance of good breaks as found on Oahu. Some of Kauai’s best spots do offer outstanding waves, however, and the mood is generally more mellow and low key than on the more populated islands. Visiting surfers may still be looked upon with some suspicion, and a friendly, unaggressive manner works best. Similar to Oahu, the breaks on Kauai’s windward (east) side often break on distant, offshore reefs and are blown out except during early-morning, pre-tradewind hours or Kona-wind conditions. The winter breaks of the west side are especially treacherous with large, hard-breaking waves and radical currents. The summer breaks of the south shore are similar to the Ala Moana Park area of Oahu and enjoy prevailing offshore winds. The north coast is temperamental with frequent rain and wrong winds; it needs winter-time conditions that are just right to reach its excellent potential. In the winter the north shore will average 6-8′, with waves of 20’+ possible at any time. The areas with the greatest potential for exploring new surf or “secret” breaks would be the northwest shore along the Na Pali Coast where access is difficult and sheer cliffs abound, and the southeast coast from Poipu to Nawiliwili. Private lands severely restrict access to this area which is also the case along much of the north shore.

All surf breaks in the Western Province break on coral reef and require a boat to get to the breaks. Your best bet is to base yourself at Gizo or Munda where boats can be easily hired. The boats are made of fiberglass with fast outboards and hold up to six surfers. It will cost about $3 per person per hour to hire a boat with six people and will be more expensive with less surfers. However, it is possible to negotiate rates. Good boats are available at Anges, Lodge and Munda. Also at the Zipolo Habu Resort on Lola Island and at the Gizo Hotel in Gizo.


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The best time for surf is between December and April, when cyclones and low pressure systems build up in the Coral Sea between the Solomons and Australia’s Queensland Coast, then move slowly south. When these swells hit they can last for more than a week at a time giving excellent clean swells. Winds vary from E-NE which are favorable although winds change often and glassy days are not uncommon. May to November is less consistent but swells do appear and when they do good surf can be had. Windswells are rare on this coastline.