Posted by on 28 Feb 2023
Tahiti is a tropical haven in French Polynesia home to world-class surfing spots. Beyond its crystal clear waters and powdery fine white sand, adventure seekers and beach lovers flock to the Tahitian islands to experience a rewarding holiday in its luxurious resorts set against the stunning scenery.
Planning a well-deserved vacation to the island paradise of Tahiti? Don’t forget to visit any of its many impressive surfing spots and catch some huge waves.
The Best Season for Surfing in Tahiti
The best time to surf in Tahiti is from May to October during the dry season, but exceptional waves appear all year round. Always check the weather and surf forecast while planning your trip to ensure your safety and enjoyment.
Tips and Important Reminders Before Surfing
Tahiti’s world-class surfing spots offer impressive swells perfect for experienced thrillseekers. To make the most of your trip, take note of the following reminders before surfing in Tahiti.
- Stick to areas with waves that suit your skill level. Surf with a local guide or hire an instructor for a safe experience.
- If you are travelling with your own boards, bring your own board straps and ties.
- Reserving a rental in advance is advised as supply is limited during peak travel season (Take detailed photographs and videos of the rental before you fasten your boards to the car- this is for documentation in case of disputes).
- Familiarise yourself with the surf site and its conditions before you head out into the water. Always check the surf forecast.
- Be mindful of the various marine life that exists and inhabits the waters. Respect local culture.
Where to Surf in Tahiti?
You can choose from several idyllic surf spots in Tahiti. We’ve curated a list of the best surf spots in Tahiti below for your next surfing adventure.
Tucked on the southern coast of Tahiti, the reef of Teahupo’o is home to the world’s harshest waves.
Fearless surfers flock to this part of French Polynesia to ride its powerful barrel swells. In 2000, Laird Hamilton, considered the greatest big wave surfer of all time, rode a 20-ft barreling wave at this renowned reef break.
Because of its consistent and heavy waves and its shallow reef, beginners are discouraged to make an attempt at Teahupo’o as its waves are powerful enough to destroy coastal homes and cause boats to capsize.
Teahupo’o will officially host the 2024 Paris Olympic surfing competition, inviting fans of the sport to a breathtaking and guaranteed mesmerising experience unique to Teahupo’o.
Although less crowded than other surf spots, Passe de Maraa is not recommended for beginners as the waves are characterised to be left-handers and are ‘hollow, thick, powerful and shallow.’
The waves break at a distance before it wraps around the pass, and you can take off on a deeper end. It is also an exposed reef and surfers are cautioned against sharp rocks, urchins and even sharks.
This exposed reef break lays close to the capital, Pape’ete. It’s known for its fast, hollow left-handers which are ideal for those who would want to get good tube rides.
While it will provide very consistent surf, it will also require a level of skill to master its more technical sections- which can be a good challenge to the advanced waterman or can be daunting to the novice.
Surfers will need to paddle around 20 minutes offshore to be able to access these waves, even better if you have boat access. A caveat: being close to Pape’ete, one would have to be prepared for the crowds it draws on weekends. On the plus side, it’s also close to luxury resorts and beach bars.
Moorea surfing happens right in the district of Haapiti. While it does boast warm waters and a cerulean lagoon, one must not underestimate the surf here at Moorea.
Wave faces can rise anywhere from 4-10 ft during peak season and 2-5 ft during shoulder season, which could be dangerous to the beginner.
Setting out early in the morning will be your best bet to catch the glassy Tahitian waves on this part of the archipelago.
An accessible black-sand beach break at the south shore of Tahiti Nui, Papara hosts what is perhaps the most suitable site for surfers of intermediate and experienced levels–generating right and left breaks, ranging from soft to powerful waves.
Given its popularity among pros, you can expect the area to attract large crowds in peak season. Short boards are recommended, and surfers are still cautioned against rip currents and plenty of closeouts.
The Papenoo Rivermouth is another black sand beach in the northern part of Tahiti. It boasts a long, powerful left-hand point break wave formed by the meeting of ocean swells with the mouth of the Papenoo River, making it an ideal surf experience at best. However, with its fast, hollow barrels, it is considered a challenging wave that is suited for more advanced surfers.
One of the best surf spots in Tahiti is the Orofara which produces waves up to 2.5 metres high. Similar to Papara and Papenoo Rivermouth, this surfing destination is also set on a black sand beach.
During the summer, the offshore winds come from the south while the groundswells rise from the northeast. As it’s one of the popular surf spots, be prepared for the large crowds and possible traffic within the area, especially on the weekends.
With its vast and steep ripples, Vairao is a favourite among thrill-seeking surfers who want steep, fast, and barreling takeovers.
Many consider it the second-best place to experience epic swells next to Teahupo’o, however, you’ll need to paddle a long distance or have a boat to access the waves. Only experienced surfers should attempt to ride these waves.
Vairao is also a popular site for scuba diving, snorkelling, cruise and boat excursions.
Known for its palm-fringed pink sand islets, Tikehau offers plenty of surfing opportunities. With its walled-up and hollow swells, skilled surfers can expect an exciting experience.
Because of its rich turquoise blue waters and biodiversity, it is also popular among scuba divers. Tikehau’s waters have the richest marine biodiversity among the islands in Tahiti.
Ride the Spectacular Waves of Tahiti
Are you planning your next great tropical holiday? Whether you’re a surfing enthusiast or a beach lover, Tahiti is the place to be.
Plan your getaway to Tahiti and look forward to riding thrilling waves at these Tahiti surf spots and waking up to stunning, postcard-worthy views.