Spratly Islands

Spratly Islands

LAST UPDATED 01/09/2008
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf





926 km


Tropical Maritime


Very Isolated, Cyclones, Difficult Access, Coup / Civil Unrest

Best Months

October - January



Special Requirements

Private Beaches, Special Pass / Permits, Non tourist Friendly


Estarapapax: Pagasa Island, The Spratlys; 2008

A pitching deck, the creak of well worn timbers, the cracking of sail and canvas...tied to the mast.  Things have changed a little I guess from when Jack London and  Josef Conrad wrote their haunting Pacific infused epics but it hasnt changed everythwhere. There are corners of this earth where that mythos still holds true, and most of those  corners are here in the South Pacific.

The main source of swell here is from the intense lows that circle the earth south of Australia, these lows spin off northwards with blessed regularity, peppering the entire region with generous SE to SW groundswell from March to September. Australia and New Zealand see the bulk of these swells. These countries cast a very tall shadow across the rest of the Pacific and hence many other islands in their wake can suffer from swell difusion. December to February is cyclone season. Unpredictable cells can deliver swell in a 360 radius, lighting up rarely breaking reefs and points facing every conceivable direction. 

The South Pacific trade winds are some of the most consistent in the world, generally from the East with slight seasonal variation. This is the largest Ocean on the planet and these winds easily generate regular rideable swell. Onshore conditions can be a problem on east facing coastlines but peeling yourself out for an early surf will usually bring some relief.

In the North Pacific it is the intense lows descending from the Aleutians that deliver NE to NW swells from October to March. Hawaii is ideally placed to make best use of this energy but other coastlines in the region have their own less publicised and far less crowded gems.

Jun to October also sees rarer hurricane swell radiate out from southern Mexico. This energy is often felt right throughout Polynesia. Even with so many energy vectors at work it is very hard to find a wave in The Spratly's. Just make sure you that any you look at don't have a transiting warship patrolling them.

what to pack

Nordelch: Flashlight; 7 January 2005

If you plan to go there, take EVERYTHING with you. As there is no economical activity on the islands, you won't be able to buy anything there. All the gear you might need for camping, water and food, clothes (warm weather), snorkelling gear, etc.

Medicines - very important.  

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