Society Islands
Best months:
April to October

Society Islands

French Polynesia
Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 07/01/2008
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introduction

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Guilherme Paula: Flag of the Society Islands; 2007

The society Islands are the main group of Islands in French Polynesia with the most promise to the surfer, this group includes Bora Bora, Tahiti and the capital of the collectivity, Papeete. The Society Islands include all of the major breaks in the area including the infamous Teahupoo.

 

 

 

surfing

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Serenade: Tautira Beach, Tahiti

The Society Islands, which include Tahiti, are the only group to have been fully explored to date for their surfing potential. The larger Islands tend to offer more variety and better breaks such as Tahiti itself and neighbouring Moorea to the west. The smaller islands further west tend to have several layers of outlying reef systems that attenuate a lot of the prevailing swell but can be classic when all of the conditions come together. Winter (Jun- Aug) is the most reliable swell window for the larger SW swells that feed the south facing points and reefs.

There is more to surfing in Tahiti than Teahupoo so don’t feel compelled to hurl yourself into 10 foot pitching reefbreak if you are not up to it. Tahiti offers good variety including a few beachbreaks for the more casual rider. The northern reaches of the islands experience favourable swell primarily during the wet season (November to March) but this can be very fickle. It would be best to plan your trip around surfing the southern breaks and venture to the northern coast for waves only if a productive cell is in the area.

weather

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NOAA: The Humboldt Current; 1943

The predominant South easterly trade winds are the major weather factor in play for the region. This ensures regular swell to the southern facing areas of the islands albeit it low period windswell. The larger swells from the South west are most common from May through to September. These will light up all of the reefs, passes and points on the islands. If somewhere looks to big or you aren’t that comfortable in surfing large waves on reefs then travel, chances are if you head a little further around the corners of the island you will find something to your liking and ability. Tropical cyclones can pass through the area though rarely make landfall. The rarer northerly breaks really come to life if the system passes far enough to the north to generate some solid groundswell.

travel

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Severino666: Papeete Waterfront; 2003

Flying is the most common method of arrival in the Islands. The airport at Papeete is called Faaa, pronounced Fah-ah-ah. This is the only international airport in the province and the main connection point for travelling to the rest of the islands. Air Tahiti is the national carrier. You can fly direct to Easter Island from Tahiti if you have the time. Travel around the islands by boat is fantastic although a little expensive. If you only plan on remaining on Tahiti then plan to hire a car and travel to check out some of the main breaks.

A lot of spots remain un named as well so if you see an interesting looking point on your roadmap consider giving it a try if time permits. The entire island is only 40 miles long so you will be able to cover a lot of ground. Ferries can get you to the nearby island of Moorea, also in the Society Group.

what to pack

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Xavigivax: Beach towel; 13 November 2007

A SPF 30+ sunscreen is definite need in this weather! Pack everything from insect repellent spray to sunglasses!

You'll need all your beach needs including a handy backpack to keep all your necessities in! Don''t forget loose clothing and trainers for the days where you just want to relax and take a walk around the area.

Getting a medical insurance for the trip won't be a bad idea either!

Charge up your camera but don't forget the charger! 

where to stay

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PHG: Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora; 2004

There is a lot of accommodation on Tahiti – nothing that you would call cheap though. Hotels range from luxury resort spa’s through to smaller operations closer to the capital so it pays to do your research. Some of the islands such as Bora Bora cater solely to the luxury honeymooners market and charge accordingly, expect to pay upwards of $1000 per night.

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