Hotel Guide Tahiti, Moorea Hotel Guide, Surfing Tahiti- Waterways Travel Images
Hotel Guide Tahiti, Moorea Hotel Guide, Surfing Tahiti- Waterways Travel
TAHITI NORTH COAST
Remember that Tahiti is not the name of the island chain, but the name of the main island. Shaped kind of like Maui, the larger piece is Tahiti Nui and the smaller is Tahiti Iti. There is surf all the way around Tahiti, some places legendary, some lesser known. Some still secret as there are a lot of nooks and crannies and reef passes, and the constantly changing variables of swell direction, tide, wind and current calls for local knowledge with many years of experience behind it.
All roads on Tahiti lead into and out of Papeete, and there are a couple of waves there. Some people love Papeete and others use it as an indicator for what is going on around the island. The left at Papeete Harbor only breaks on a big north or northwest swell, but if Papeete is good that means the southwest coast is off its face. The right breaks on smaller swells, and if it’s breaking and you want bigger thrills, go to the north coast.
Most of the surf breaks in the Society Islands are reef passes and reef breaks, but there are exceptions. Moving from northwest to northeast over the top of Tahiti, the Sapinus beach breaks are along a stretch of beach not protected by the reef pass. Popular with bodyboarders but also good for surfers, there are beach breaks all along this stretch, with a rivermouth in the middle. Sapinus is a place that stays surfable when the north and west side of Tahiti loaded with swell. Moving north along the west side of Tahiti Nui, Maraa is a black diamond, XXX, skull and crossbones beware left reebreak that would cause riots anywhere else in the world, but Maraa is overshadowed by Taapuna: a left reef made famous by Vetea David, the most accomplished pro surfer from the Society Islands. Taapuna is a world-class left reef that has been overshadowed by Teahupoo and others, but it’s as perfect as it ever was. Not a place for beginners. For literary history buffs, Point Venus is the spot where Captain Cook said his thing about “the most supreme pleasure.” The reef right there is not the most consistent spot on the north coast of Tahiti, but when it’s firing, the pleasures are supreme. And there are reef breaks going both ways from Point Venus: Pirae, La Fayette , Taharaa on the west side, Orofara, Tapahi, PK 15 and Rocky Point on the east side. For surfers tired of long paddles or worrying about coral cuts, Papeeno Rivermouth is a California-like setup: rights and lefts going both ways over a stone, not coral bottom. And like California, don’t surf this spot after a rain. At Trou du Souffleur there is the famous Arahoho blow hole for tourists, but there is also a reef/point that is popular with bodyboarders, but a decent surf spot on its day.
That’s just a handful of places in a coast that is lined with reefs, reef passes and holes in the reef that allow beachbreaks, or rivermouth.
TAHITI SOUTH COAST
There are a few surf spots on the east coast of Tahiti – at Hitia’a and Faaone, but most of the surf on this island comes from the west and the south, so the east side of Tahiti is a bit like the east coast of Oahu: potential, wind and not enough swell.
Of course Teahupoo is the best known of all Tahiti’s surf spots. It’s located on the south face of Tahiti Iti. Teahupoo isn’t always fearsome and is a good wave for intermediate surfers when it’s smaller. But Teahupoo isn’t the only game in town and there are reef passes after reef passes moving up the coast toward the isthmus and then Tahiti Nui.
The outer barrier reefs of east Moorea are less than nine miles from the outer barrier reefs of west Tahiti, which means Moorea is an easy hop by fast boat across the channel.
The most famous wave in Moorea is 20 miles as the crow flies from Papeete, and a couple of hours by boat. And boat is the way to go, because the paddle from shore out to Ha’apiti - combined the with the current sweeping out of the lagoon - makes this place treacherous for those who don’t know what’s going on. Ha’apiti is a classic, coral reef pass left hander that is surfable from small to giant, depending on your skills.
Going around the island clockwise from Ha’apiti, the reef pass leading into Taotai has a left on one side and a right on the other. The next reef pass over is Papetoai, a rare wave that has one of the best views out of the barrel on the planet.
Cook’s Bay is a famous inlet where cruise ships and luxury yachts go well inland into Moorea to be awed by the spectacular jungle-covered volcanic mountains. The entrance has Cook’s Bay Left which is not as gnar gnar as other reef passes around Moorea, while Cook’s Bay Right is faster, more challenging and shallower.
On the northeast corner of Moorea, Temae is a doubly-exceptional wave. It is a right, and it breaks like a point, close to the beach, which is as unusual for Moorea as a reef pass would be in California.
Coming around the south side of Moorea, the reef pass just before Ha'apiti is Atiha. This is a left that takes the wind better than Ha'apiti, and is a little more user-friendly, just don’t get caught on the inner reef, but that is true for all of French Polynesia.