Have you ever dreamed of visiting to Tahiti? How about surfing Tahiti? It's on our bucket list, for sure. Brand ambassador Elise (@babeinthewaves) recently moved from Moorea to Tahiti so we got her local surf recommendations for Tahiti.
Surf Guide: North Shore of Tahiti
After not surfing for several months in the later stages of my pregnancy and after my son was born, I'm now a surfing mama! I'm back in the water surfing the amazing breaks in Tahiti and preparing for the best time of year for waves with the famous North swells, November - March.
The best spots in Tahiti during the North swells are on the North Shore. Between the small town of Mahina and the Village of Papenoo, there are lot of surf spots along of the coast. I love North swell season because the surf spots are much more accessible. (The rest of the year the breaks that work in Tahiti are those exposed to South swells - these breaks are located on reef passes, are very powerful, and not easy to access.) If you are visiting Tahiti during North swell seas on, try to avoid our busy holiday season, December - January.
Ahonu is a fun wave located on a black sand beach. It is a fast beach break that shortboarders and bodyboarders love due to its hollow and fast waves, especially at low tide. When it’s small, Ahonu is also the 'playground' for the local kids, beginners, and surf schools due to the easy paddle out. Ahonu is sandy bottom, pretty shallow, and can be quite crowded on the week-ends.
When the swell is solid, the waves at Ahonu become very different. The current can be strong and the waves are powerful. You must know how to duck dive to get to the line up. Also, don’t be afraid to share your session with black tip sharks!
Orofara is a black sand beach with a mixture of rocks. It is a beach break with several peaks. The waves are longer and smoother, perfect for longboarders and SUPers. It’s also a nice place for beginners and surf schools. Orofara is the spot for local contests and can often be very crowded.
La Source is also a black sand beach with rocks. The break is located at the base of a cliff where there is a source of fresh water. At La Source there is a consistent and fast beach break, as well as a pretty left that breaks on a big rock. If you love perfect, barreling waves close to the shore you will probably love this spot. I caught my very first barrel here! To access, park you car on the side of the road and go down on the beach.
Rocky Point is a black sand beach with rocks. It is a fast shorebreak with a lot of body boarders in the line up. The main peak sits between two big rocks and is protected from the wind. The view from the peak is beautiful! Rocky Point is a very local spot and in order to paddle out, you need to walk over rocks.
Chinese Bay is a black sand beach with rocks. It is a large bay that has several peaks. When it’s big, the waves break in the middle of the bay -- the waves can be very long! At high tide, Chinese Bay is perfect for longboarders and SUPers. At low tide, the wavs are faster and more powerful, which is perfect for bodyboarders are shortboarders. Be careful to the strong currents with a big swell!
Papenoo is considered the best beach break on the North Shore. It is located at a river mouth with rocks and black sand. All the local groms and champions train at this spot, like Poenaiki Raihoa, the 2014 ISA world champion. The waves are perfect, consistent, and powerful. It is very crowded on the weekends and it may be hard to catch some waves with so many local champions in the lineup! Papenoo is also a very popular place for surf and SUP contests. During the rainy season, the water can be brown due to the river mouth. It is not recommended, and sometimes forbidden, to surf due to bacteria in the water like Leptospirosis.
Venus point is very famous and popular with tourists for its historic lighthouse. It is located in the bay of Matavai where the the famous ship Le Bounty arrived in Tahiti. Venus Point is a beautiful and large black sand beach. When the swell is too big at others breaks you can have a nice session here. It is the best place to surf small and long waves, great for longboarders, SUPers, kids, beginners, and also pregnant surfing ladies! (I surfed this spot while I was pregnant because the wave is very gentle, except during the weekends when the break is very crowded.)
The left is very smooth and very long, while the right is more powerful and ends on a shorebreak. Venus Point is Tahiti's 'Waikiki Beach'. This beach is a family spot. As a result, there are a lot of kids in the water on the weekends so you need to be careful.
Off the coast of Venus Point, in the pass, there is a reef break that is a very powerful right. It is very shallow and tubular, famous for its perfect barrels. Only locals and good surfers surf this break as the reef is aggressive and sharp. The wave is thick, fast and hollow. You must be an experienced surfer to surf this spot and respect the locals if you want to catch some waves. The view from the peak is breathtaking; you can see all the Matavai bay in crystal clear water! If you surf this wave, you will have a sneak peek of a real Tahitian reef surf session. And in case you wipe out, you will have a nice reef polynesian tattoo for free!
The North Shore of Tahiti is not very touristy so renting a car is the best option. Eco Car is the cheapest.
Where to Stay:
The best place to stay on the North Shore is Relais de la Maroto (Papenoo vallée)!
There are not many restaurants on the North Shore - most of them are located in Papeete. Eat local at small food trucks we call Roulottes. The best food trucks in the evening are in Papeete, in the downtown area called Vaaiete, close to the port. A good restaurant in Mahina is Casa Mahina.
You can buy fresh fish and fruits on the side of the road!
I hope to see you in the line up!
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