Surfing in Tonga
Tonga is a polynesian archipelago with more than 170 islands scattered across the world’s largest ocean. The islands, atolls and reefs of Tonga offer amazing surf conditions throughout the whole year. Although the archipelago enjoys surf all year round there are still two main surfing seasons. Winter is from April to October and this is when powerful swells coming from the roaring forties hit the Tongan coast. This is when the waves are bigger but during the rest of the year the swells are still extraordinarily consistent with solid waves coming from the North Pacific or strong wind swells generated by local cyclones. It is true that it can be hard to get to Tonga due to the remote geographical position, but this is the trip that every surfer dreamed and it's perfect for those who are looking to catch perfect waves with no crowds whatsoever.
Climate in Tonga
The climate in Tonga is considered tropical with wet and dry seasons. From December to April the archipelago has a hot and humid rainy season. Dry season is from June to October and during this time the temperatures are a bit cooler and rainfall is reduced although it still can happen. The best time to surf in Tonga is during winter from April to October. This is when swells are generated by intense storm activity on the South Pacific. During summer the islands receive high period swells coming from the far North Pacific and also southern Pacific wind swells powered by the cyclone season. The water temperature in Tonga is warm throughout the whole year. The only recommendation is to use a vest to protect from the intense UV factor.
Best surf spots in Tonga
The northwest coastline of the island of Tongatapu has the most famous surf spots in the country. Breaks like Kamikaze’s and Fish Traps are located around Ha’atafu Beach. Other surf spots are Corners, Hufangalupe Beach, Lighthouse, Motels, The Bowl, The Pass and The Peak. Of course there are plenty of surf spots waiting to be discovered all over the archipelago making Tonga a huge unknown surf potential.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $6 USD. Mid-range meals start at $15 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $65-100 USD.
Bring your own gear and don’t forget to bring your spare gear too.
Prepaid SIM cards
U-Call is a good choice. Digicel is best if you’re staying around the main islands.
SIM cards can be purchased easily from the airport.
Prepaid packages start at $3 USD.
Buses have a 'B' on their number plates. They run on Tongatapu, and in a more limited capacity on Vava’u. Fares range from $0.30-0.90 USD depending on distances travelled. Buses need to be flagged down, there are no official bus stops.
Taxis have a ‘T’ on their number plates.
You can rent cars on the main islands of Tongatapu and Vava’u. Expect to pay around $50-$90 USD a day.
$1.13 USD a liter.
Types of risks
No beach breaks, and all opportunities for surfing are above the shallow reefs fringing islands and atolls.
How to prepare
Citizens from 33 countries including, the EU can enter Tonga without a visa for up to 30 days. Citizens for 37 countries including Australia, US and UK, will receive a free visa on arrival good for 31 days.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella.
Things to know
Language & Currency
Tongan is the official language and English is commonly spoken.
The currency is Tongan pa’anga (T$).
Best time to go
Tonga has world class waves throughout the whole year with 2 very distinct seasons. From November to March there are consistent swells and from April to October strong, clean groundswells reach the Ha'atafu coast.
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.
Nuku'alofa - Call: 999
Lapaha - Call: 927
Nukunuku - Call: 928
Check surf pictures of Tonga at #surftonga.