Surf's Up in Samoa

Palm tree lined beach in Samoa. Image courtesy of Samoa Tourism Authority.

World-class waves combined with a stunning tropical coastline and traditional Polynesian culture make surfing in Samoa a unique experience. Surfers will find consistent waves year round and the clear lagoons and rich coral reefs are a paradise if you like to dive and snorkel. Off the water, Samoa's traditional villages offer a chance to enjoy the hospitality and warmth of the Samoan people.

Although it's a relatively new as a surfing destination, Samoa boasts some superb reef breaks and some of the most powerful surf in the South Pacific. Huge swells roll out of the Pacific waters, breaking onto the shallow coral reefs that surround the islands of Upolu and Savaii.

The main island of Upolu is a magnet for swells with surf on the south, east and north sides. During the peak season from late March through to November, huge swells created by the big lows near Antarctica pound the island’s rugged south coast. From December to February, northern swells also roll down from Hawaii breaking onto the island’s northern coast.

If you're based on Upolu, the south coast has some superb surf spots, among them Coconuts, Devil's Island, Siumu, Village Lefts and Resorts. Near Salani Village, boarders can tackle Salani Right, and the long, fast-breaking barrels of Salani Left, or check out the powerful left breaks of Devil's Island (Nuusafee Island), which peel off over a stunning coral reef. Most resorts offer boat transfers out to the reef breaks, and when conditions are too rough, there are still some tempting land options including the superb Boulders. This one is only surfed at low tide, but the classic lefthand pointbreak boasts swells of up to 8ft. Good offshore surfing alternatives are The Island, with its powerful left break that reels off over a beautiful reef, and Rusty's, a hollow right-hand reef break ending in a deep channel.


Beach in Samoa and blowholes in Savaii. Image courtesy of Samoa Tourism Authority.


On the north shore of Upolu, experienced surfers can check out Dragons Breath for one of the best set ups on the island. Just 10 minutes out from Apia, this powerful right hander has huge open barrels that can compete with the world’s best. The right-hand breaks of Pudding Rock and the nearby Waterfalls offer a short but fun ride, or try the series of breaks at Tiavea and Fagaloa Bays for some great tubes and drops.

Neighbouring Savaii – an island famous for its pristine beauty – also has numerous breaks on its north and south coasts.  Aganoa Right and Aganoa Left are within paddling distance of the beach, and the snorkelling here is also fantastic, with colourful coral gardens and tropical fish.

If the surf's flat, or you feel like a break, hire a mountainbike or car and make your way around the local villages for a taste of traditional Samoan life. There are plenty of wonderful natural attractions on route as well. If you’re staying on Upolu, stop off for a snorkel at Apia's Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, or take the plunge at the Papa seea Sliding Rocks. If you're exploring Savaii, the spectacular blowholes near Taga and the Olemoe Waterfall are a must-see, or head up to Tafua Peninsula – a rugged stretch of lava coast dotted with sea caves and blowholes.

Fact File
  • Samoa's surf is largely reefbreaks and for experienced surfers only. There are often strong currents, so it's always best to go with an operator. In most villages, it is not permitted to surf on Sunday.
  • When using the beaches for surfing, swimming or snorkelling, always ask permission at the local villages. A small fee is usually charged.

Apia Operators

Upolu Operators

  • Moanalei Dive’n’Surf
    Phone 685 41 051 or 685 777 1518
  • Sa’Moana Resort
    Phone 685 28 880 
  • Salani Surf Resort
    Phone 685 41 069

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