Surfing in French Polynesia
French Polynesia is a set of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean and is an overseas country that belongs to France. The archipelago is formed by 200 volcanic islands that are known for their coral-fringed lagoons, above the water bungalow hotels, white or black sand beaches, beautiful mountains and majestic waterfalls. The most famous island of French Polynesia is Tahiti which is home to arguably the best wave in the world and definitely the most brutal one, Teahupoo. This top to bottom barreling wave can only be surfed by the very best surfers in the world and is considered the favorite to many including 2x world champion Gabriel Medina. Besides Teahupoo, French Polynesia has infinite perfect setups and lots of space for new findings. Most of them are immaculate reef brakes that are any surfers dream. The islands have extremely good exposure to south swells and consistent waves all year round. If you want a place where you can forget everything and get immersed in a tropical paradise full of incredible waves, French Polynesia is your ultimate surf destination.
Climate in French Polynesia
The climate in French Polynesia is tropical with hot and humid weather. The weather patterns are heavily influenced by the trade winds and the country experiences two distinct seasons. There is a cool and dry season from May to October and a hot and humid season from November to April. From December to April there is the possibility of cyclones. The water temperature is always warm averaging 25°C. The country has waves all year round but the best time is during the dry season.
Best surf spots in French Polynesia
There are a vast number of surf spots scattered over the islands of French Polynesia and a huge possibility to find new virgin waves. Most of these spots are uncrowded and have perfect waves breaking with no one around. The most famous surf spots in French Polynesia are located in the island of Tahiti. Here is a list of the best surf spots: Teahupoo in Tahiti, Ha’apiti in Moorea, Rangiroa in Tuamotu, Maraa in Tahiti, Papara in Tahiti, Taapuna in Tahiti, Vaira’o in Tahiti and Tikehau.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $4 USD. Mid-range meals start at $13 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $70-100 USD
There are a couple places where you can rent gear. Boards start at $14 USD and hour.
Prepaid SIM cards
Vini is a good choice. SIM cards can be purchased from official stores, Papeete Faa airport.
Prepaid packages start at $8 USD.
French Polynesia transportation options include ferries, slow cargo-style boats,, cruise ships, rental cars, flying, local buses and bicycles.
The most popular ferry trip is the 30 to 40 minute journey from Papeete (Tahiti) to Moorea. It’s a wonderfully scenic journey.
It is possible to rent vehicles and motor scooters on most of the islands. As well as bicycles.
Buses known as Le Truck operate in some of the Society Islands and are a cheap way to travel around the coastal roads.
Many restaurants on Moorea and Bora Bora offer free pick-ups and return rides for their diners.
$0.78 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Reef breaks, sharp coral, powerful, heavy waves. Crowded, localism.
How to prepare
If you are from the EU or 8 other countries you can freely enter. Citizens from 53 countries, including the US, Australia and Canada are visa exempt, allowing you to stay for up to 3 months.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella. You may be asked to show proof of your yellow fever vaccination if you come from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Things to know
Language & Currency
French is the official language. On the larger islands you’ll find many English speakers.
The currency is Cours de franc Pacifique (CFP; Pacific franc)
Best time to go
The best time to surf in French Polynesia is during the dry season that goes from March to August.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
Check surf pictures of French Polynesia at #surffrenchpolynesia.