10 surfing spots on the Islands of Tahiti
Famous for its blue lagoons and beaches, the islands of Tahiti are also known to be one of the best destinations for surfing. We put together 10 amazing spots for surf lovers.
1 - Moorea, Ha'apiti
Part of the Society Islands, Moorea (The Yellow Lizard) is only 17 km northwest of Tahiti. It is very easy to get there from Papeete by ferries (40 mn) or planes (5 mn flight). When in Moorea, you will find Ha'apiti, the regional classic. It offers a long powerful wall and the not so odd barrel. Not as full on as some other Tahitian reef breaks but still a challenging wave. It does involve a long paddle from land and keeping your position against some strong currents. If you can, try and gain access to a boat or a kayak, it'll make the paddle to and from irrelevant or a lot easier. If not be sure to make the paddle back before you get too tired.
2 - Rangiroa
Situated in the Tuamotu Archipelago, it is the second largest atoll in the world.
The main time to surf in Rangiroa is during the wet season between November and April. During this time of the year Rangiroa receives the tail end of the swells that Hawaii's North Shore. In saying that the surf is by no means small all the time. The distance between Hawaii and French Polynesia give the swell time to clean up and intensify. It has been known to even get beyond the 8 - 10ft mark.
Situated off the Northern tip of Avatoru is a quality right-hander that has a huge variety of moods. At three foot it's a nice playful wave that reels at a perfect pace around the reef. Once it gets above six foot, it gets very heavy as large barrels dredge of the shallow reef.
Don't be fooled by the local kids running around on the reef. It is extremely sharp and booties come highly recommended.
3 - Tahiti, Maraa
Just South of Taapuna, Maraa is a fast, hollow and shallow left-hander that is quite a technical spot requiring a bit of experience and skill. The line-up doesn't get too busy as it is somewhat fickle. The wave breaks quite a distance and wraps into the pass.
4 - Tahiti, Papara
Papara is one of Tahiti's only beach breaks. It's a beautiful black sand beach situated on the south side of Tahiti Nui and given its user-friendl nature, it is also one of the most popular places to surf.
The wave is a pretty standard of a beach break, so there is a fair mix between closeouts and peaky, punchy rides. It's a good place for those not quite ready for the heavier reef breaks or a non-surfing partner wanting a few holiday surf lessons.
5 - Tahiti, Pepeno'o
Papenoo Rivermouth is another Tahitian black sand beach break. It's located on Tahiti Nui's north shore and tends to work during the opposite time of the year to its Southern cousins. The river at Papenoo has a constant flow that can create some good sandbanks, producing some hollow peaks. This place is a good option if you're looking to mix it up.
6 - Tahiti, Taapuna
Taapuna is a fast, powerful and hollow left-hander that breaks over a shallow coral reef like the majority of the other waves around. The wave has a few variable sections that require a certain level of expertise to master. Due to its close proximity to Papeete, it can get crowded on the weekends.
7 - Tahiti, Teahupo'o
Depending on the angle of the swell, the wave either forms an inescapable closeout or a flawless barrel. Although regardless of the angle the ride at Teahupo'o is a short one. A barrel and one turn is all you really have time for.
When it's small Teahupo'o is a perfect wave and the average surfer can sample these waves. However, once it reaches six foot it's a different game all together.
8 - Tahiti, Vaira'o
Definitely one of Tahiti's best waves. Vairao is a perfect left-hander with a steep, hollow barrel at the take-off followed by a long wall for a few hundred metres. Whilst you do need to have a certain level of skill to surf this wave, it's not in the same league as Teahupo'o. Its best to get here by boat as it is a very long paddle from shore. This does seem to keep the crowds to a minimum though.
9 - Tikehau, left
Tikehau consists of small reef-fringe islands surrounding an oval shaped lagoon. It is filled with hidden bay and forgotten corners exquisitely crafted from pink and white sands, all surrounded by a protective coral barrier.
The left is located of the atoll's main pass and surfable anywhere between two to eight foot. It walls up off the take-off before barrelling when it reaches the inside section.
10 - Tikehau, right
The right is located on the opposite side of the main pass to the left and is generally considered to be a more forgiving wave. Although it can hold some size, the wave generally hugs the reef allowing a quick paddle to the channel and relative safety. Tikehau Right is suitable for any surfer from an intermediate ability and up.