Drop into these surf breaks in Fiji
The World Surf League (WSL) is returning to Fiji for the first time since 2017, the final event of the regular nine destinations surf season will witness the world’s best surfers converging on the iconic Cloudbreak, where they’ll vie for a coveted spot in the WSL Final 5.
Cloudbreak, located off the island of Tavarua in Fiji, boasts a globally acclaimed reef pass and is renowned for its breathtaking left-hand barrels, capable of handling waves ranging from 2 to 20 feet. Due to its rapid and powerful nature, it is recognized as an exceptionally challenging and intense wave.
Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay is thrilled to announce its partnership with the World Surf League (WSL), as one of the official accommodation partners for the highly anticipated 2024 Corona Fiji Pro scheduled from 20th to 29th August 2024. This collaboration promises an unparalleled experience for surfers, spectators, media and surf enthusiasts alike.
Whether you are keen to drop in on the pros or take a surf trip to Fiji and explore the waves yourselves, here is all you need to know to Roam Fiji with your surfboard.
There are many surf breaks around Fiji and all cater for different experience levels. Here is a breakdown of what to expect where.
Cloudbreak in the southern Mamanuca islands holds an almost mythical status to surfers from around the globe. It’s frequently touted as one of the top 5 waves in the world alongside the infamous Pipeline and Teahupoo.
Cloudbreak can easily hold a 10-foot plus swell that’s not for the faint-hearted! It’s no place to hesitate; once you’ve committed to the steep wave face you’ve no choice but to ride it as the shallow reef isn’t exactly forgiving. Getting tubed out there, no matter the wave height is an unforgettable experience. Kelly Slater is a huge fan of Cloudbreak and Fiji in general, counting the locals at Tavarua Island as family.
The Coral Coast won’t be outdone by all the fun waves in the Mamanuca Islands. Frigates, an offshore reef break, can give you the ride of your life given the right conditions. This long, mega left-hander rises up out of the deep water at Frigates Passage. Its secluded location means, like many of Fiji’s waves, you can score it mostly uncrowded. Expect a 30 – 45 minute boat ride to get there if you’re staying on the Coral Coast mainland. Frigates is fun for everyone when small but gets seriously heavy over 6ft.
Namotu Island sits alongside Tavaura in the scenic Mamanuca islands. Namotu Lefts is a world-class wave that’s much easier to navigate than neighbouring Cloudbreak. It’s a fast, fun reef break that displays amazing water clarity and is a firm favourite of international surfers as well as a few friendly local folks. You’ll clearly see the colourful corals and myriad marine life below as you paddle into the line-up. Beginners to intermediate surfers can also find a safer yet suitably exciting wave zone just minutes away at Swimming Pools.
As far as accessible, user-friendly waves in Fiji go, Wilkes is right up the top. It’s an easy-to-reach surf spot from heaps of resorts in the Mamanuca Islands or Nadi. Plus, it attracts plenty of awesome swells. Wilkes is a great right-hand break that works best in a south-west to west swell direction. The take-off zone is pretty easy before the wave opens up to a long wall with fast sections that cater for a range of fun manoeuvres.
Qamea Island in northern Fiji is home to a whole host of relatively undiscovered reef breaks. Bula Bowls is a user-friendly left-hander wave (experts only on massive swell days though) that works best in south easterly winds. Easily accessible by boat, it’s about 10 minutes offshore from the island. This fun, short ride suits surfers of all skill levels.
Intermediate to advanced wave hunters would be wise to check out Kavas break nearby. Kavas is where you’ll find a fast, long-walled left with hollow barrelling sections. It breaks on a shallow reef, so only surf it on a high tide. Visitors should either base themselves at nearby Taveuni or Qamea Island to enjoy a rad surf adventure here. The region is also famous for its world-class diving.
Natadola Bay is a divine beachfront break on the Coral Coast. It’s super easy for people who want to learn to surf! Longboarders will love the inside reef section where you can score super long rides depending on the swell size and tide heights. Intermediate to advanced surfers who are keen to explore the area a bit more can paddle about 1km (or take a quick boat trip) offshore to Resort Lefts – the waves here offer long rides and thick, throaty barrels. It’s pretty fickle and the winds can pick up quickly and tear the wave face to pieces.
Fiji’s best-kept secret and most popular local break is just a 5-minute boat ride from the Royal Suva Yacht Club. The Suva Reef Lighthouse wave is a rare but great right-hander that breaks in the entrance to the Suva Harbour. The break doesn’t handle too much size, maxing out at around 6ft, but it’s a great wave for intermediate surfers and above. A good section for learners is on the inside of the reef. You’ll find a great wave shared with friendly locals, offering city views from the line-up.
Companies and resorts keeping it sustainable
With some of the best surfing in the world on legendary reef breaks like the iconic Cloudbreak, it’s important to keep our oceans healthy. Here’s how some of Fiji’s top surf resorts and surf operators are embracing sustainability – including STOKE certification – the world’s first sustainability certification built specifically for surf operators.
Matanivusi Beach Eco Resort
Nestled in the coastal forest along Viti Levu’s Coral Coast, Matanivusi Beach Eco Resort was the world’s first surf resort to earn a STOKE certification. There are six bures beside the beach connected by a walkway built above the forest. You can surf some of Fiji’s best waves with a short boat ride, including the famous break, Frigates. The resort collects all rainwater to be self-sufficient, separates all waste into compost, recyclables and waste and smashes all non-returnable bottles to use in concrete mix. All wastewater is treated to be used as natural fertiliser for the gardens and produce comes from its organic gardens. Forget about plastic, you won’t find any here.
Tavarua Island Resort
This tiny heart-shaped island in the Mamanuca Islands certainly lives up to its slogan – ‘tiny island, big heart’. The island is one of the world’s most iconic surf resorts, temporary home to 12-time world champion, Kelly Slater and on the doorstep of Fiji’s best waves, like Restaurants, Wilkes and Cloudbreak.
In addition to their state-of-the-art solid waste and water treatment, rain catchment, solar energy initiatives, Tavarua Island Resort are keen conservationists. In partnership with the Minstry of Fisheries, they’ve created a Giant Clam hatchery, rearing over 500 endangered juvenile clams. The clams have tripled in size and could help repopulate the entire west side of Fiji. They’ve also created Hawksbill turtle rehabilitation ponds, use only reef-friendly sunscreen, erected reef moorings and are working with the Government to establish a Marine Protection Area around Tavarua. A tiny island with a big heart indeed.
Fiji Surf Co
The first locally-owned surf company, Fiji Surf Co have been involved in ocean sustainability since starting in 1995. They operate surf charters to take travellers to Fiji’s best reef breaks, mostly around Cloudbreak. Aside from being instrumental in the Fiji Surf Act, they campaigned to organise days cleaning rubbish on the beach and planting native trees, and they also recently developed the world’s first charcoal-based sunscreen (mixed with beeswax) that’s totally reef-friendly.
They’ve also been heavily involved in replanting Fiji’s reefs by planting more hardy, heat-resistant coral in reef nurseries (which guests can visit) and then transplanting them back to the reefs. They’ve also been leaders in the bid to ensure boats use mooring buoys off iconic surf spots like Cloudbreak, to minimise reef damage from anchors.
Maqai Beach Eco Surf Resort
As a past multiple winner of the Fiji Excellence In Tourism Award In Sustainability, Maqai Beach Eco Surf Resort has been leading the way in teaching the world how to run a surf retreat. They use renewable energy through solar power systems so less than five percent of the resort’s power comes from diesel generators. They also have a cutting-edge waste-water treatment system, and an organic vegetable garden and are involved in coral gardening – planting new corals in nurseries to take back into the wild.
This tiny island in the Mamanuca islands is surrounded by a big, blue playground that they are working hard to protect. Namotu was recently benchmarked by STOKE for some of the great work they are doing with their innovative bio-cycle wastewater management system and plastic reduction on the island. Their beach is a regular turtle nesting ground, so they make sure that they log and rope off the nests so that they aren’t disturbed. Like their neighbour Tavarua Island Resort, they are also rearing giant clams to be released in the marine park around their island when they mature and all fish sustainably to supply their restaurant.