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Your Guide to Surfing in French Polynesia!

Ia Orana! Welcome to AWAVE Travel’s guide to surfing in French Polynesia!

For the Polynesians, surfing is part of the local culture and dates back to the time of the kings, when only the nobility had access to these prestigious waves. The archipelagos offer countless world-class spots that break on living coral.

This guide will explain where French Polynesia is and the best times to go. We will also look at how to get there and include some insider tips to ensure you have an unforgettable trip!

With dozens of world-class waves, the most well-known Teahupo’o attracts surfers from all over the world. All around the islands, the pass orientations magnetize swells from all directions that make reef and beach break surfable all year long for all levels.

AWAVE Travel offers a range of resorts and surf charters in French Polynesia and the Pacific Ocean. These will get you to the best surf, in comfort and style!

Where is French Polynesia?

French Polynesia is made of 5 archipelagos that group 118 islands in total (76 populated) located in the southern Pacific Ocean, about an 8-hour direct flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco. The major islands, Tahiti and Moorea, are part of the Windward Islands. Both, group some of the best reef breaks you will find on earth, some more accessible than the others.

Surfing in French Polynesia is for most surfers, a life’s dream in our sport. The majority of the reef breaks are over 800 meters from the shore making for difficult access. So, unless you have access to a boat, you will need to paddle out to check the spot. For the most motivated, the “mana” (spirit) of the island will give it back by offering some unforgettable moments such as paddling out with dolphins to reach the spot early morning, or experiencing the jumps of whales while waiting for your wave.

The Islands:


The island where the majestic Teahupo’o attracts advanced surfers from all over the planet. Tahiti can be defined in 2 parts; “Tahiti Nui” (the big Tahiti, the North Island) and “Tahiti Iti” (the little Tahiti, the South Island). The whole west coast holds some of the best reef breaks you will ever surf!


The sister island, offers a lot of (less crowded) waves and is only 17 kilometres from Tahiti. It is accessible by ferry or short plane ride from Papeete. This island reflects the image that everyone has in mind when we think about Polynesia; wilder, with more serenity and dreamy reef breaks.


The largest chain of atolls in the world, as big as Western Europe (78 islands) has countless world-class waves! Mostly reef breaks, they can work at any time of the year.

Best time for Surfing in French Polynesia

When to travel to French Polynesia? Due to the location in the South Pacific Ocean, you can surf all year long on the different sides of the island. It is a year-round destination because of its exposure to consistent swell on its varying breaks.

The dry season (May – October) is well known for its beautiful days with consistent and repetitive south and west swells that hit most of the south and west coast, and are usually accompanied by very favourable winds. Real swell magnet, waves can get really big during the peak season between June and August.

The wet season (November – April) is more famous for its humidity period, and for its northern and eastern swells that turn on some hidden gems of the north and east coast. The wind at this time of the year makes most of the surf spots from the west coast hardly practicable. During this period, Papenoo delivers some epic sessions and proof one more time that beach breaks can equalise reef breaks!

How to travel to French Polynesia?

How do you get to French Polynesia? Faa’a International Airport, located conveniently on the west side of Tahiti, is the choice airport for international travel. We recommend Air Tahiti Nui for its high-quality level of service and awesome surfboard baggage policy (surfboards go towards total baggage allowance and are not charged separately)! AWAVE Travel’s experts will be on-hand to assist in arranging logistics when traveling to French Polynesia!

AWAVE Travel’s favourite Waves in French Polynesia

The Polynesian waves are the jewels of the Pacific Ocean and are the dreams of most surfers! With its colourful reef breaks and black sand beach breaks, it is a destination for all kinds of surfers. When we have the occasion, the AWAVE Travel team loves surfing on the islands and have picked a few of our favourite waves:


Located in “Tahiti Iti” (south part of Tahiti), Teahupo’o is the most famous and beautiful left-hander barrel in the world. Power, perfection, and commitment make this wave an unforgettable ride for most of us! South West swell is the best condition you can get combined with light easterly winds.

See the forecast here.


The most popular beach break on the island, located on the north coast just after Papeete, is well known for its all-level waves. This spot turns on with a North/East swell during the wet season and delivers a wave playground.


One of the best left-handers we have seen! A very hollow and spectacular barrel that breaks on a very live reef. It has 3 different sections that make the wave challenging and changes according to the swell’s size. South and west swells are the best forecasts to score this!

Where to stay in French Polynesia

There are many amazing resorts and charters to stay at whilst in French Polynesia. AWAVE Travel has compiled a few of our favourite surf resorts and surf charters that would allow you to access the amazing waves in the region!


If you are looking for comfort and luxurious accommodation whilst surfing in French Polynesia, our range of resorts could be perfect for you! These allow you access to some of the best waves in French Polynesia with beautiful accommodation.

InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa

Tahiti is a real tropical paradise, with warm crystal-clear water, outstanding beaches, a laid-back atmosphere, and some of the best waves in the world!
InterContinental Tahiti boasts top-notch facilities, with excellent restaurants and vibrant bars. The resort offers superb infinity pools set amid colourful gardens and a diverse range of activities on offer!

Ninamu Resort

Ninamu Resort is an intimate island resort, hidden away on a remote motu in the southwest corner of Tikehau atoll. This little slice of paradise serves as the perfect launchpad for luxury surfers seeking perfect Polynesian waves!
Ninamu Resort offers a client-focused experience with only 10 handcrafted bungalows in the resort. This ensures that all of our guests receive personal service not found in large chain resorts.

Charters in French Polynesia

As you may have guessed, we at AWAVE Travel love surf charters! Being onboard a quality charter allows you the flexibility to surf where you want when you want. If you’re happy to forgo some of the luxuries that you would find on land, a charter is the most flexible way to surf in French Polynesia!

Seawolf Expedition

Seawolf Expeditions is the perfect private charter for small groups looking to score the world-famous waves of French Polynesia! This custom-built vessel is designed specifically for your comfort and enjoyment on the water and is available for personalised charters throughout French Polynesia.
On top of Surf Safari, SeaWolf can arrange whatever you could want to do on the water including deep-sea fishing (some of the best in the world!), scuba diving, snorkelling, shark encounters, whale watching, spearfishing, SUP, jet skis and more!

What to Pack

This beautiful archipelago is renowned for its fantastic warm, tropical climate and year-round surfing opportunities due to its position in the Pacific Ocean. Surfing in French Polynesia is a dream trip so being prepared can make all the difference in the water!

Because of French Polynesia’s remote location, AWAVE Travel recommends you bring the following items along with you on your Surf Trip:

  • 2 or 3 surfboards
  • Spare leg-ropes
  • Surf wax
  • Sunscreen (lots of it!)
  • Zinc
  • Surf hat
  • Rash Guard
  • first aid kit
  • Ding repair kit

Travel Insurance

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help you travel confidently. World Nomads offers travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. It has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Booking Your Trip

AWAVE Travel’s team are here to help you find the perfect resort or charter for your trip. Once you have decided on the trip and the route that would suit you, we can set you up with an offer for booking!

All of our trips are covered by our Best Price Promise, so you will always get the best rate booking with AWAVE Travel!

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Customer Reviews

AWAVE Travel

Customer Reviews

Omar AlJammaz 03/07/23

Great travel options, great customer support, simplifying planing process.
Looking forward for my next trip.

Nina Ross 03/08/23

Awesome holiday to Hudhuranfushi. Giulia was very helpful and quick to respond and overall we were very impressed with Awave Travel.
Lohi's is a private, on site, awesome left hander that just kept giving. Also had options of 2 daily surf boat trips that went to other local breaks such as Sultans, Ninja's, Cokes, Jails. The surf team are amazing and we scored great waves the whole time we were there.
Stayed in a Sunset family beach villa which was perfect for a family of 4, then upgraded for the last 3 nights to Ocean Villas, both great for different reasons!
Island staff are so helpful and welcoming, and there's a good variety of food options available. Lots of other things to do such as paddleboarding, jet ski-ing, spa treatments, yoga and amazing snorkelling - with sharks, turtles and rays! We also hired bikes to get around and do morning surf checks!
An amazing trip, thank you Awave and Hudhuranfushi!

Seb Speck 25/06/23

We had an amazing time on the Mentawai islands booked through Awave Travel.
Giulia was very helpful and available at all times during the booking process. And we had the best time on the Mentawais on the Maki Boat. The staff were amazing. Raul the surf guide was very helpful, friendly and coached us on the waves. Kaique the photographer produced top quality pictures and videos from the water, boat and drone.
Overall very happy and would highly recommend it.

Tom Ward 18/06/23

We charted Seafarer for a 10 day trip in the Maldives. We booked with AWAVE about 12 months before. James was super helpful, really responsive and just easy to deal with. We even made a very last minute change to go to the central atolls which he arranged pretty much straight away. The trip itself was unreal, great surf, amazing wildlife and scenery. If you’re thinking about a surf charter, do it and book through these guys!

Natasha Gronski 06/08/23

Awave Travel is the best surf travel agency I have ever booked! They are very professional and responsive to my inquiries and are able to match me with a surf trip appropriate to my interests and skill level. They have an outstanding relationship and reputation with the resorts that they work with, which makes a difference in the consumer experience. Above all, the Awave staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about the areas they recommend, as they have actually surfed the spots and stayed at the resorts. For anyone who wants a hassle-free, no worries, relaxing and fun surf adventure, Awave Travel is the way to go!

David 05/29/23

8 of us stayed at Hudhuranfushi for my 50th birthday celebration. The resort and services were amazing. James and the team at AWAVE stayed in contact from the beginning to end to ensure we had everything we needed. Great experience. Definitely looking forward to booking our next trip with AWAVE in the near future.

Alexandra Franz 05/31/23

We spent amazing days in Morocco in Amouage. Was an amazing stay and the full surf package offered by AWAVE was great.
All the people were very nice and coaches were amazing. Booking was very smooth, answered all my questions and they took care of everything.
I took the coaching package and had a great time and learning. The teacher was great, very patient and explained everything very nice and calm. Felt safe all the time and had a lot of fun as well.
My boyfriend had the guiding package and he also had a great time. He was always taken to the spots that fitted his level and enjoyed the full when conditions were nice.

Alex Reuter 05/22/23

We stayed at Ayada in Maldives and I can't be more complimentary of AWAVE! Awesome and patient advise over whatsapp on which resort to go to with extremely details local knowledge on surf conditions, wave spots, resort quality, which atolls to go to, etc. I followed their recommendation and it was spot on. Easy booking on short notice before the trip, can't thank James enough!

Stewart Cropp 05/19/23

Our remarkable trip was 12 months in the was awkward to organize because there was so many people coming and going over our two week chartered cruise.
I can’t speak highly enough of AWAVE and more to the point ,the wonderful Giulia Manfrini. She is so caring and sweet and far above and beyond any travel consultant that I have ever worked with
Thankyou Giulia for all your prompt answers to my gazillion questions
You are “Simply the best”.
Now onto the Carpe Diem
The trip of a lifetime was had by all 20 of us
The Captain and crew worked tirelessly to pander to our every whim
They would not allow us to lift a finger
Our Barmen Shawn and Cook ( still can’t pronounce his name ) were superb, the food was first class and varied and the alcohol flowed like a river
Our Surf guide “Seppe” found waves for us every day except for two while we travelled deep into the central Attols
We were greatful for the rest
We snorkeled with the sharks and visited uninhabited Islands spent an afternoon being spoiled at a high class resort .
All in all an Awsome trip

Diane 05/11/23

James helped us organize our trip in April for my partner and I in the Mentawai.
First, lets discuss the service : James was super clear and reactive. We received a list of resorts with different price ranges and he provided all the elements for us to decide based on our needs and budget. We felt very supported for the organization and we even received so advices few days before leaving for packing.
I was a bit afraid as i'm not a good surfer so i reach out many times to understand how I could still try and learn and James always replied very quick and with all the info i need.
Then when we arrive : it was super well organized, everything went smooth and we fell in love with the place and people. We can tell they really worked on their resort selection and travel organization and we trust our next adventure will be as qualitative.
Already recommended their service ;).