Surf Seasons & Weather

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Seasons

Like most these South Pacific Islands Samoa has more of a wet and dry season as opposed to a summer and winter.  The dry season April through October is generally the cooler time of year; with the wet season months of December through May typically having warmer and more humid weather.   Yearly air temperatures range from high 70’s to high 80’s, with water temperature remaining close to 80.

However, the seasons in Samoa are difficult to nail down as much depends on which side of the islands you visit.  All travel guides will detail the wet and dry seasons as the paragraph above as rainfall is monitored in the capital city of Apia on the north cost.  From December through February the larger rainstorms that come down from the north and are stopped by the large mountains in the center of the islands.  The rain clouds drop their payload on the north coast, lighten up, and pass over the mountains moving to the south coast.  Hence, heavy rainfall is monitored on the north coast.

During the dry season months, especially May through September, the large rainstorms come up from the south, hit those mountains, and drop most of their rain on the south coast before moving over to the north coast.  So, if you travel to Samoa in July and stay on the south coast, it may seem like rainy season; and in contrast, the south coast will see many beautiful days in January.

Wind

As a weather pattern, wind may be a more important consideration then rain for overall surf conditions.
June – September: South Easter trades will cycle through periods ranging from strong to lights & variable.  Generally you may see 7-10 days of SE trade followed by 3-5 days of lighter more variable wind.  Often times you may be able to score lighter variable winds in the morning, with trades picking up late morning through the afternoon.  It is important to remember that Samoa has some excellent breaks that favor the south east trade winds.

Dec – March: Winds trend lightly from a northerly direction often producing glassy conditions on the N coast with light offshore winds on the south coast.

April-May/Oct-Nov    These “shoulder” or transition months often see light and variable winds moving from glass to north then onto south east and back again.

Swell

The south swell window is generally from April though September while the north swells are biggest and most consistent from December through February.  However, being located so far south, and in open ocean, Samoa receives south swell year round from both storms off Antarctica and tropical depressions moving across the Pacific.  It is unusual to receive north swells outside the main season.   A great aspect of surfing in Samoa is that due to the relatively small size of the islands it is easy to surf both the south and north coasts to take advantage of all swell coming in from either direction.

To sum it up:  If you’re looking for the biggest surf, June through August is the go. Surfers looking for the cleanest surf with many different breaks possible, the wet season from December through February is excellent.  Many people prefer to shoot for those shoulder months of March, April, May and October, November, hoping to get those glassy conditions with early or late large south swells.