When: Tahiti offers year round surf, but November to April is the prime surfing season.
Happenings: On Tahiti you can snorkel, fish, nature watch or just soak in the rays, but most people some to surf.
Remember to bring: Factor 15 and a surf board.
The largest of the 118 Polynesia islands, Tahiti is sometimes known as “the island of love”. Tahiti is a water lover’s island paradise, with clear blue skies, tropical rainforests and plentiful marine life. The open ocean combined with the shallow lagoons allow a diversity of watersports. It’s a playground for Scuba diving, snorkeling, siling, surfing, swaterskiing, swimming and kiteboarding. It’s a popular haunt for divers and fish down below to ogle include Napoleon fish, tuna, barracuda, jackfish, rays, sharks, moray eels and even rare sea turtles.
But it is the surf for which Tahiti is legendary. The beaches on Tahiti are pounded by some of the most awesome surf on the planet. The surfers are attracted by the big waves, the lush tropical paradise of the island itself makes it an irresistible destination to any self respecting beach lover.
The Horue contest is one of the biggest surfing event on the island of Tahiti. It’s been going since 1990, and runs for one week from June 25th at Papara Beach which has around 3ft waves.
The surfing tradition started with Polynesians using wooden planks, although both the Kiwis and the Hawaiians argue it is they who invented it. The best surfing spots are at the “passes” or open ocean entryways into the lagoon where waves can achieve better sizes.
Tahiti’s best surfing spots are the Papenoo break on the North Coast, Paea break in the South, and the awesome Teahupoo on the Tahiti-Iti peninsula. The trick to find the best breaks is to be-friend a local surfer on the beach or in one of the many surfshops of Papeete and meet a “dude”. Attitude in Tahiti is laid back, but surfers can be protective over their favourite breaks.
Tahiti and Papeete
A complete guide to the Island and water sports.
By Susi O’Neill
main image: Kitesurf Teahupoo, by Tim Mckenna