Saint Helena

Saint Helena

South Atlantic Ocean
LAST UPDATED 31/08/2008
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf


Call code


Net code





58 km




Very Isolated, Severe Storms

Best Months

May - September




Saint Helena Pound (SHP) Pegged to the UK Pound Stirling

Time Zone


Special Requirements

Limited Surfing Supplies Available


The Flag of Saint Helena

St. Helena is located in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean and one of the most remote islands on the planet. It is a British overseas territory and has a population of approximately 7,300 people. The island is of volcanic origin and takes it's name from Helena of Constantinople. The official language of St. Helena is English and the currency is the St. Helenian Pound (SHP). The majority of the inhabitants are of the Christian religion.


Jaques-Louis David; Napoleon in his study; 1812

A Portuguese navigator, João da Nova, first discovered Saint Helens on the 21st of May 1502 whilst he was on his way back from India.
He named the island after Helena of Constantinople. St Helena was garrisoned by the British Empire in the 17th Century as a port of call and refreshment station for ships travelling to and from India and the east and it was also used as Napoleon Bonaparte's exile from 1815 until his death in 1821. Its importance went into decline after the construction and opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.


Andrew Neaum: Jamestown, St Helena; 1985

With such open access to the Atlantic, this region has regular surf. During winter (June-August), large low-pressure systems from the South manage to travel along the coastline and deliver regular southwest to westerly swell.

The further north you travel the more attenuated this energy is, but anything that arrives is often of a very superior period and very neatly stacked. Unfortunately the main swell window on this coast tends to correlate with the SW monsoon, which delivers light onshore winds from about April to September.

Early morning sessions are the go in St Helena during this period. Make sure you go and say hello to any other surfers you encounter on this coast, as you may not see another for a very long time.


Rama; Napoleon's Exhile, Longwood House; 06.1970

There are currently no airports on the island at time of writing, though there is one under construction and is due for servicing in 2012.

Nonetheless, you can still get here by boat on board with the RMS St. Helena from either Cape town, South Africa or from the UK. The trip takes seven days from South Africa or two weeks from the United Kingdom.

You can get around the island by car or bike but there are no trains or railroads on the island.

where to stay

H; Simple tent; 21.07.2006

There are three hotels on St. Helena, these are The Consulate and Wellington in Jamestown, the Capital city, and Farm Lodge the country.

There is also a variety of bed & breakfasts and self-catering accommodations around the island as well as a VIP backpackers hostel. Do make sure you book in advance however as these options are few and do fill up quickly. It's a long way back to the mainland if there's no room at the inn.

what to pack

Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops called "Cabjuks"; 25 May 2007

As you have already understood, it's better to take everything you may need with you, though you will be able to buy things there.

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and strong UV protection sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and could be expensive. By the way, getting medical insurance for the trip would be a good idea.

And don't forget to take a good protection for your camera from the sand.

dangers and warnings

Andrew Neaum; St. Helena; 1985

There are no real dangers in Saint Helena, crimes rates are low to none.

However, just keep your valuables with you at all times, don't leave them unattended and on show and just use your common sense. Be careful when entering the water, there can be some severe currents and the South Atlantic Ocean is a big place for the coastguard to start looking for you if you go missing!

If you decide to take a hike into the hills around the island tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

restaurants, shopping and nightlife

Skeezix1000; Shopping Bag; 08.10.2005

As with many other remote and isolated communities over the world, St. Helena has developed it's own multicultural unique cuisine.
There are around six different restaurants you can eat at on the island, each with it's own charm. Most of which are located in Jamestown.There are also a few bars located in Jamestown and at the Hotels for and evening tipple or two.  

what to do when it's flat

Flavio.brandani; Marlin; 13.02.2007

St. Helena has an excellent climate for outdoor activities all the year round.

The Island is about ten miles long and 6 miles across and has some beautiful working tracks through the mountains with evidence of its rich history to take in along the way.

The underwater world is also magnificent as well and you can take guided dives around the many dive spots that surround the island. If that's still not enough then you can always have a go at game fishing too! You can charter a boat for a days fishing and expect to catch tuna, marlin and barracuda.

useful phrase guide

Indolences; Standard question mark; 04.05.2007

The official language of St. Helena is English!

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