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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:

Tahiti

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!

Moorea

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.

Tuamotu

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:

Teahupo’o

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.

Papeno’o

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.

Taapuna

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!

Resorts

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

Tatsiana Radchanka 04/21/2024

Google
Amazing surf camp. Felt at home there. Super nice, kind, helpful staff. Any of my requests has been satisfied. Highly recommended!

Charles Viellevoye 03/27/2024

TrustPilot
Very professional team. Giulia is always on and have an accurate answer to all my questions. The boat trip was incredibly well organised. Nothing was missing.

Emily Bullen 04/03/2024

TrustPilot
Professional and Top Notch! From the moment we started planning our trip AWAVE was responsive and professional. We had a lot of back and forth picking the perfect location and resort and James and Giulia were patient and helpful. The resort we stayed at, AYADA in the Maldives, was beautiful and relaxing- great for families and couples! It was perfect for us- we have 1 surfer in the family, he was able to enjoy the waves and we also were able to enjoy the reef and snorkel as a family. Our kids loved the kids club and the private pool on the beach villas was amazing. The alcohol is expensive if you don’t do full board but that is to be expected. Wonderful vacation and amazing travel agency! Definitely recommend!!

Cobus and Jackie Van Aswegen 10/19/23

Google
awesome last minute trip which was well communicated, friendly crew and great surf guide! waves were not the best but we realised at the time of booking that it was end of season. crew could not be more friendly and willing to help all the time - chef prepared a wide variety of food and never any complaints on that front - thanks!!!... we will be back for more!

Steve 10/07/23

TrustPilot
I've used Awave twice ... so far. This is the second time I've used Awave for a trip to the maldives. Stayed in 2 different resorts this time. They've always been incredibly prompt at replying and handled everything for us, making sure the 2 Resorts were in touch to get us transfered half way through our trip. At one of the resorts I even bumped into Giulia and Delia who were out there surfing at the time. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll use awave again if I'm booking a surf trip

Donald Ayres 11/06/23

TrustPilot
Indonesia Surf Trip/ Java/Bali/Sumba - James Colston was my representative from AWAVE - I’m an older solo surfer and James was attentive, respectful, extremely responsive from the initial planning stages all the way through the booking. And he was so patient with all my crazy questions along the way. I couldn’t have been more pleased with James’s level of service. Thank you James

Alex Daish 12/28/23

TrustPilot
Giulia was an amazing person to book with. I was overwhelmed with choices initially, but AWAVE knew their stuff and helped me with my options and even suggested delaying my trip so I could go to a certain hotel which ended up being the best decision I made all year.

Mickey 01/24/24

TrustPilot
Giulia and James were always on line to answer any question or to give an advice. The Ayada resort is perfect both for families or for couples. We did not have waves as the season goes from April to September, but there are plenty options to have fun and good times. Highly recommended both Awave and Ayada.

James 01/30/24

TrustPilot
The AWAVE team are knowledgable and helpful. Giulia is a very helpful and patient person to deal with, and do not worry, you can trust her. I had to delay my trip to Morocco due to unforeseen circumstances and Giulia was very understanding. I have just returned from having a fantastic week at Amouage in Taghazout. Thanks AWAVE!

Omar AlJammaz 03/07/23

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